Substantial part of the funds promised by the European Union to help Syrian refugees in Turkey are not yet actively used to meet their needs, revealed the Turkish authorities. The EU has promised 6 billion EUR agreed under two 2015 and 2016 agreements, but only 1.78 billion EUR have been transferred to Turkish ministries and international organizations responsible for implementing refugee projects.
“While Turkey has used over 30 billion USD of its national funds for the needs of Syrians who have lived in Turkey for nearly seven years, a substantial part of the 3 billion EUR promised by the EU in November 2015 was actually not used”, said the Turkish Ministry for the EU.
According to the institution, 1.78 billion EUR has been allocated so far, while 1.3 billion EUR of them were allocated to international organizations, 270 million EUR to the Ministry of Education, 120 million EUR to the Ministry of Health and 12 million EUR in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“Unfortunately, the mechanism for using EU funds does not work quickly”, added the ministry.
Turkey insisted that it would be easier if money were given directly to the government – something the EU rejects on the argument that it always directs humanitarian aid to specialized agencies and non-governmental institutions to go directly to the needy.
In return for funds for Syrian refugees, visa-free travel and revival of EU accession efforts, Turkey has agreed to cooperate to stop migrants crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece and to take back those who have not been sheltered there.
However, relations between Turkey and the West have worsened over the past year, and European officials have said Turkey has a long way to go before becoming an EU member or achieve visa-free regime.