BRUSSELS, Belgium – Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu (pictured) warned EU leaders ahead of crunch talks Friday that Ankara’s offer to curb the refugee flow to Europe was strictly a humanitarian rather than a “bargaining” issue.
“For Turkey, the refugee issue is not an issue of bargaining but an issue of values, humanitarian values as well as European values,” Davutoglu said as he arrived for a summit in Brussels with the bloc’s 28 national leaders.
“EU and Turkey we have the same goal, the same objective to help Syrian refugees especially and also to have a new future in our continent in a bright manner,” the premier said ahead of an initial meeting with EU Council President Donald Tusk.
Tusk will present Davutoglu with the EU’s controversial plans to halt the flood of migrants, which would see Turkey take back all those landing in Greece in return for key concessions, including speeding up Ankara’s long-stalled EU membership bid.
Europe is counting on a deal to curb an unprecedented influx of 1.2 million migrants since the start of 2015, driven by the war in Syria, although Turkey is expected to exact a heavy price for its consent.
“I am sure we will be achieving our goal to help all refugees as well as deepen our relations,” Davutoglu said.