Turkey and the EU are squabbling over the terms of a deal to help ease Europe's growing refugee crisis.
At a summit in Brussels, the European Union's 28 leaders offered Turkey €6bn as they desperately try to send back thousands of refugees and end an influx of more than a million people since early 2015 fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond.
In a draft statement prepared for the talks, seen by The Associated Press, the EU said it will pursue "comprehensive, large scale and fast track returns to Turkey of all irregular migrants not in need of international protection".
It is thought they have agreed to give Istanbul €6bn over the next three years, twice that offered in November.
Turkey, which is home to around 2.75 million refugees already, raised the stakes in response, demanding accelerated membership talks and faster visa-free travel for its 75 million citizens.
One source said Ankara was seeking €20bn, rather than the €3bn offered by the EU.
And although Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu insisted the country was "ready to work" with the EU, messages from Turkey have been mixed with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is not at the summit, refuting claims Turkey is encouraging the migration of refugees from its own borders to Europe and accused Europe of failing to deliver money that it had previously promised,
"We are not sending them. They are going (to Greece) by sea and many of them are dying. We have rescued close to 100,000 from the sea. Others are puncturing their boats and causing their deaths," Mr Erdogan said.
“They promised to give us €3bn, four months have passed since then,” Erdoğan said. “The prime minister is in Brussels right now. I hope he returns with that money.”
Refugee crisis - in pictures
Refugee crisis - in pictures
A child looks through the fence at the Moria detention camp for migrants and refugees at the island of Lesbos on May 24, 2016.
Ahmad Zarour, 32, from Syria, reacts after his rescue by MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) while attempting to reach the Greek island of Agathonisi, Dodecanese, southeastern Agean Sea
Syrian migrants holding life vests gather onto a pebble beach in the Yesil liman district of Canakkale, northwestern Turkey, after being stopped by Turkish police in their attempt to reach the Greek island of Lesbos on 29 January 2016.
Refugees flash the 'V for victory' sign during a demonstration as they block the Greek-Macedonian border
Migrants have been braving sub zero temperatures as they cross the border from Macedonia into Serbia.
A sinking boat is seen behind a Turkish gendarme off the coast of Canakkale's Bademli district on January 30, 2016. At least 33 migrants drowned on January 30 when their boat sank in the Aegean Sea while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.
A general view of a shelter for migrants inside a hangar of the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin, Germany
Refugees protest behind a fence against restrictions limiting passage at the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija. Since last week, Macedonia has restricted passage to northern Europe to only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who are considered war refugees. All other nationalities are deemed economic migrants and told to turn back. Macedonia has finished building a fence on its frontier with Greece becoming the latest country in Europe to build a border barrier aimed at checking the flow of refugees
A father and his child wait after being caught by Turkish gendarme on 27 January 2016 at Canakkale's Kucukkuyu district
Migrants make hand signals as they arrive into the southern Spanish port of Malaga on 27 January, 2016 after an inflatable boat carrying 55 Africans, seven of them women and six chidren, was rescued by the Spanish coast guard off the Spanish coast.
A refugee holds two children as dozens arrive on an overcrowded boat on the Greek island of Lesbos
A child, covered by emergency blankets, reacts as she arrives, with other refugees and migrants, on the Greek island of Lesbos, At least five migrants including three children, died after four boats sank between Turkey and Greece, as rescue workers searched the sea for dozens more, the Greek coastguard said
Migrants wait under outside the Moria registration camp on the Lesbos. Over 400,000 people have landed on Greek islands from neighbouring Turkey since the beginning of the year
The bodies of Christian refugees are buried separately from Muslim refugees at the Agios Panteleimonas cemetery in Mytilene, Lesbos
Macedonian police officers control a crowd of refugees as they prepare to enter a camp after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
A refugee tries to force the entry to a camp as Macedonian police officers control a crowd after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
Refugees are seen aboard a Turkish fishing boat as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast to Lesbos
An elderly woman sings a lullaby to baby on a beach after arriving with other refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
A man collapses as refugees make land from an overloaded rubber dinghy after crossing the Aegean see from Turkey, at the island of Lesbos
A girl reacts as refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
Refugees make a show of hands as they queue after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
People help a wheelchair user board a train with others, heading towards Serbia, at the transit camp for refugees near the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija
Refugees board a train, after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija. Macedonia is a key transit country in the Balkans migration route into the EU, with thousands of asylum seekers - many of them from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia - entering the country every day
An aerial picture shows the "New Jungle" refugee camp where some 3,500 people live while they attempt to enter Britain, near the port of Calais, northern France
A Syrian girl reacts as she helped by a volunteer upon her arrival from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos, after having crossed the Aegean Sea
Refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
Beds ready for use for migrants and refugees are prepared at a processing center on January 27, 2016 in Passau, Germany. The flow of migrants arriving in Passau has dropped to between 500 and 1,000 per day, down significantly from last November, when in the same region up to 6,000 migrants were arriving daily.
The draft proposal of an agreement between the two sides was seen by Reuters on Monday and sets out the following committments:
- 1) Readmit expeditiously all irregular migrants crossing into the Greek islands from Turkey without prejudice to Turkey's current commitments under international law. This readmission process will be for a temporary period and only for humanitarian purposes.
- 2) For that purpose, station, in agreement with the Government of Greece, adequate number of immigration and liaison officers in the established "Irregular Migration Monitoring Units" mainly in Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos to help facilitate processing of readmission cases.
- 3) Effectively implement all appropriate administrative and legal instruments to serve above stated purposes, including in the bilateral arrangements that will be put in place in agreement with the Government of Greece.
- 4) Effectively cooperate with the EU as well as the UNHCR to ensure expedited resettlement in spirit of burden sharing of Syrians to the EU member states, based on the formula of "for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states."
- 5) Effectively implement projects, submitted by Turkey and decided upon by the Refugee Facility Steering Committee; and cooperate with the EU member states in any joint endeavour to establish humanitarian safe areas inside Syria.
The EU will:
- 6) Evacuate completely refugees from the Greek islands and readmit only those, who crossed into the islands after a date to be determined.
- 7) Cover the cost incurred [in the Readmission process.]
- 8) Referring to Point 5 of the EU-Turkey Statement of 29 November 2015, instead of October, Adopt and implement a relevant EU Council Regulation to realize the lifting of visa requirements for the Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone, by latest end of June 2016, based on an accelerated roadmap, dedicated support and in conjunction with the Readmission Agreement.
- 9) Effectively and expeditiously resettle Syrians from Turkey based on the formula referred to in Article 4 to balance on a monthly basis, and cooperate with Turkey in any joint endeavour to establish humanitarian safe areas inside Syria.
- 10) Prepare for the decision on the opening of new chapters (the accession of Turkey to the EU)
- 11) Expedite and facilitate the transfer and disbursement of the Refugee Facility for Syrians and decide upon an additional facility of Euro 3 billion until the end of 2018.
- 12) Review progress jointly with Turkey on monthly basis, including on mutually agreed appropriate locations.
Earlier in the day, German chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker tried to change the wording of an EU statement declaring the refugee route through the Western Balkans is "closed".
They argued for the route to remain open for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and not be declared closed, German news channel NTV reported.
A draft EU statement, seen by Reuters, said: “Irregular flows of migrants along the western Balkans route are coming to an end; this route is now closed.”
Martin Schultz, president of the European Parliament, appeared to support their stance.
According to The Guardian, he said: “I don’t believe that this is a summit in which doors will be closed. I hope that we can find a sensible and humanitarian solution for refugees who desperately need our protection.”
EU leaders are holding a key summit with Turkey, aimed at preventing a repeat of last summer's influx of refugees.
Turkey insists it maintains an "open door" policy towards Syrians, but human rights groups say only those with serious or urgent medical conditions have been allowed to cross in the last year.
David Cameron told reporters Britain has "an absolutely rock-solid opt-out from these things so there is no prospect of Britain joining a common asylum process in Europe".
He added: "We will have our own asylum approach, our own way of doing things, keeping our borders. It underlines the best of both worlds, the special status that we have."
Additional reporting by PA
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