İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said a 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union needs to be updated, expressing Ankara's hopes to reach a new agreement in time for a summit of the bloc's leaders later this month. In an interview with state-run Anatoli news agency, Cavusoglu said on Tuesday Turkey was ready "for constructive work" on the issue, taking into account developments in neighbouring Syria where a government-led offensive has forced nearly a million people to flee towards the Turkish border. "If we reach an agreement by March 26 when there will be an EU leaders' summit, this issue will come on to the agenda of this meeting," said the minister.
His remarks come after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Brussels for a meeting with EU and NATO leaders. As he arrived in Brussels, Erdogan declared he expected 'concrete support' from all allies, including Greece, in the Syrian civil war. 'NATO is in a critical period during which it needs to clearly show support,' he said. 'The crisis stemming from Syria, with its security and humanitarian aspects, is threatening our region and even all of Europe’.
Following a meeting with Erdogan on Monday, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of EU Commission, said both sides were committed to preserving the 2016 migrant deal. She accused Turkey of 'politicising' the Greek frontier. 'The events at the Greek-Turkish border clearly point to politically motivated pressure on the EU's external border,' she said, 'finding a solution to this situation will require relieving the pressure that is put on the border.' Erdogan left Brussels on Monday evening without issuing a joint statement or appearing for the planned joint news conference.