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Turkey Arrests Migrants After Agreement With European Union

Turkish authorities rounded up some 1,300 migrants on Monday whom they said were planning to sail to Greece. The crackdown came a day after Turkey reached an agreement with the leaders from the European Union to stem the flow of migrants.

Under the terms of the deal, the E.U. will provide three billion euros, or $3.2 billion dollars, in aid for the approximately 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. In addition, Turkish citizens could be allowed to travel visa-free in Europe as early as October 2016. And talks on Turkey potentially joining the European Union will be restarted.

In return, Europe wants Turkish coast guards to intercept more migrants at sea. E.U. leaders also want to impose more order on the migration process, by having potential migrants interviewed in Turkey to see if they qualify for asylum status. And they want those already in Europe who are deemed not to qualify for refugee protections to be quickly returned to Turkey.

It is unclear to what extent Turkey can significantly cut down on the migrant flows to Europe. According to estimates from the the International Migration Organization, the number of migrants arriving by sea has reached 750,000 this year. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu cautioned after the deal was announced that the crisis would continue until the Syrian civil war abated.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alexandra Starr