NEWS

Tusk: Turkey must decide how to cut migrant flow

tusk-turkey-must-decide-how-to-cut-migrant-flow

European Council President Donald Tusk says it is up to Turkey to decide what further measures it can take to reduce the flow of migrants but says many in Europe favor a mechanism that would allow the "fast and large-scale" shipment of migrants back to Turkey.

At a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday, Tusk said such a mechanism would "effectively break the business model of the smugglers."

He welcomed a series of Turkish efforts to curtail the tide of refugees crossing from Turkey to Greece but said the numbers are still too high.

In November, Turkey reached a deal with the EU under which it agreed to stem the flow of irregular migrants to Europe in return for a 3 billion euro ($3.26 billion) fund to help the country deal with the 3 million refugees – most of them Syrians – as well as sped-up EU membership talks and easing of visa restrictions for Turkish citizens.

The country is under pressure to reduce the numbers of migrants crossing into Greece as a March 7 summit meeting beween Turkey and the EU to discuss the issue nears.

Tusk arrived in Ankara from Athens where earlier on Thursday he warned prospective economic migrants to not even think of setting off toward Europe.

He is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday. [AP]