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European Union to spend hundreds of millions of euros to help refugees in Turkey

The European Union plans to spend hundreds of millions of euros over the next year helping refugees living in Turkey, most of them people who fled the war in Syria, the Associated Press reported.

The European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, said on Wednesday that it is extending two programs, one that provides cash assistance to refugees in Turkey to meet their basic needs and the other that provides funds to help educate children.

The programs will be extended until early 2022 at a total cost of 485 million euros ($590 million).

Turkey is home to almost 4 million refugees.

Around 70% are women and children, and the overwhelming majority of refugees live outside migrant camps.

European Union
refugee camp.

The European Union relies on Turkey to stop migrants and refugees from trying to reach the bloc’s 27 member nations illegally, a job it has not been doing effectively.

In 2016 the European Union gave Turkey 6 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in aid for Syrian refugees on its territory, as well as fast-tracking European Union membership and visa-free travel to Europe for Turkish citizens if Turkey stopped migrants from trying to depart.

The number of arrivals dropped dramatically.

But in March, Turkish authorities began waving thousands of migrants through to Europe after dozens of Turkish soldiers were killed in fighting in northern Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had sought European help in northern Syria, but the request was refused and he accused the European Union of reneging on its promises under the 2016 deal.

European leaders in turn accused Erdoğan of “blackmail” but then promised to review the deal in an effort to end the chaos at Europe’s borders.

Germany, Italy and Spain continue to sell arms to Turkey and at the same time approve more European Union funds for the Erdoğan regime.