Turkey seeks more EU funds for refugees’ upkeep

A Syrian refugee mother puts her baby into a stroller in Nizip refugee camp, near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 15 December 2019

Turkey seeks more EU funds for refugees’ upkeep

  • EU funds support the roughly 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey

ISTANBUL: The EU should spend more than the €6 billion ($6.6 billion) already allotted to fund Syrian refugees in Turkey, and speed up the flow of that money, the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s EU point person said on Saturday.

EU funds support the roughly 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, after Syria’s more-than eight-year war killed hundreds of thousands and pushed millions from their homes. In turn, Turkey has agreed to halt further immigration to Europe.

“The flow of funds should be sped up and the amount of funding should be increased,” said Faruk Kaymakci, a deputy Turkish minister of foreign affairs.

“As long as the crisis is there we have to work together. The €6 billion will not solve the problem when it is finally all spent,” Kaymakci told reporters in Istanbul.

The EU, which set up the funding in 2015, says more than €5.6 billion have been allocated, more than 3.5 billion contracted and more than 2.4 billion disbursed.

Kaymakci said hosting the refugees costs Turkey some $40 billion in total.

Europe’s relations with Turkey are strained on several fronts including disagreement over a Turkish military incursion in October against a Kurdish militia in northeast Syria.

Turkey in late October threatened to “open the gates” to allow refugees into Europe unless Europeans back its plan to resettle them in northeast Syria.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.