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Turkish president to discuss in Brussels Syria, migrants, European integration issues

October 05, 2015, 10:00 UTC+3 ANKARA
For Ankara, which has received more than 2 million Syrians during the Syrian conflict, the issue of refugees tops the agenda and considerably affects the political situation.
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

ANKARA/BRUSSELS, October 5. /TASS/. The problem of migration policies in relation to Syrian refugees, the situation in Syria, including after the start of Russia’s operation against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation will be discussed in Brussels on Monday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The talks are also expected to focus on the prospects for accelerating Turkey’s European integration.

For Ankara, which has received more than 2 million Syrians during the Syrian conflict, the issue of refugees tops the agenda and considerably affects the political situation. The country has spent more than $7 billion of budget funds to accommodate the migrants, getting from international organisations only about $400 million assistance - about half of the funds was provided by the European Union. At meetings with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Turkish leader is expected to once again raise the issue of this imbalance.

Erdogan intends to discuss the progress of negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the EU. Turkey is an official candidate for EU membership and started negotiations on this issue back in 2005, but over the decade has practically not become closer to joining the community. Erdogan today has a chance to conduct dialogue with Brussels from the position of strength, using Europe’s heavy dependence on Turkey on the migration dossier. At the same time Ankara at least over the past year has noticeably cooled down to the idea of European integration. Today it is going to make the European Union take concrete steps. First of all, Turkey is interested in cancelling the visa regime with the European Union. It can promise in return to intensify the implementation of the readmission agreement with regard to Syrian refugees, as well as tighten control over their migration to the EU via Turkish territory.

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