Turkey promised to help stem the flow of migrants in Europe in return for cash, visas, and renewed talks on joining the European Union (EU) in a deal struck today (November 29, 2015) that the Turkish prime minister called a "new beginning" for the uneasy neighbors, the Reuters website reports.
Leaders of the EU met Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels, Belgium today to finalize an agreement hammered out by diplomats over the past month, as Europeans struggle to limit the strain on their 28-nation bloc from taking in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing from a civil war. Many European nations have built fences -- some over 100 miles long -- on their borders to block the entry of Syrian refugees, because they fear radical Muslim terrorists from Syria's Islamic State (IS) might infiltrate their countries.
A key element in the EU-Turkey deal is 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in EU aid for the 2.2 million Syrians now in Turkey. The money is intended to raise their living standards and to persuade more of them to stay put, rather than attempt perilous crossings to the EU via the Greek islands.
The final offer of "an initial" 3 billion euros represents a compromise between the EU -- which offered that sum over two years -- and Turkey, which wanted it every year. The money will be paid out bit by bit as conditions are met.