EU to offer Turkey more cash for Syrian refugees before Erdogan meeting

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, attends the inauguration of his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party's Politics Academy, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, March 9, 2018. (AP)
Updated 13 March 2018
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EU to offer Turkey more cash for Syrian refugees before Erdogan meeting

BRUSSELS: The European Union’s executive is due to approve a further 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in funding for Syrian refugees living in Turkey, EU officials said, before a meeting with President Tayyip Erdogan later this month.
Europe’s relations with Erdogan have been fraught in recent years but the EU depends on Turkey to keep a tight lid on immigration from the Middle East, where the war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands and pushed millions from homes.
Top EU officials will meet Erdogan on March 26 in the Bulgarian city of Varna despite misgivings among many on the European side.
The bloc’s top migration official Dimitris Avramopoulos will announce on Wednesday that the European Commission proposes the extra funding on projects benefiting Syrian refugees in Turkey, the sources told Reuters.
Turkey has accepted 3.5 million refugees from Syria, and the EU is already spending a first 3 billion euro instalment to help them.
Over a million more refugees and migrants reached the EU in 2015, most of them flowing through Turkey. Brussels agreed to pay to help host migrants on the Turkish soil in exchange for Ankara preventing more from trying to cross the Aegean to Greece.
This reduced the numbers to a trickle and this cooperation with a key NATO ally has muted EU action against Turkey over a crackdown on critics, dissenters and civil society following a failed coup in 2016. Erdogan has also attacked EU members Germany and the Netherlands in his speeches.
The bloc has mainly responded by freezing some funding that Turkey had been eligible for as a candidate for EU entry and suspending accession talks that have long been stalled anyway.
The EU will also release in April what the sources said would be a “critical” report on Turkey’s accession bid.


Iran’s President Rouhani clashes with General Soleimani over Revolutionary guards funding: Reports

Updated 51 min 53 sec ago
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Iran’s President Rouhani clashes with General Soleimani over Revolutionary guards funding: Reports

  • Iran spends millions annually to fund militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
  • US Ambassador Haley: Iran spends over $6 billion annually to keep the Assad regime in Syria afloat

LONDON: Iranian president Ali Rouhani clashed recently with General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Brigade, over the Republican guard’s budget, according to Iranian media reports.

An Iranian paper quoted by Al-Arabiya said that the verbal clash between the two leaders took place at a Eid Al-Fitr reception in Tehran.

Solaimani is reported to have warned the president from reducing the Revolutionary Guard’s budget, but Rouhani apparently responded angrily according to the Iranian sources.

The confrontation between the two leaders was such that it necessitated the intervention of the head of the Iranian National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, who reconciled the two.

Iranian leadership disagreement about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s role, cost of operation and interventions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen have risen to the surface recently.

The tensions come after the US renewed its pressure on Tehran questioning its role in the region and its tacit support for terrorism.

The US representative at the UN, Nikki Haley, has recently revealed that Iran spends over $6 billion annually to keep the Assad regime in Syria afloat, in addition to a million more to support allied militia like the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.