An EU-Turkey summit, held to tackle the refugee crisis in Brussels on March 7, agreed some principles however delayed its decision for an upcoming summit next week, over the refreshed demands of Ankara.
Ankara asked for an extra three billion euros, as well as visa-free travel by June 2016, which surprised 28 EU counterparts. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu proposed in return to discourage illegal crossings to EU countries through Turkey.
"With this game-changing position in fact our objective is to discourage illegal migration, to prevent human smugglers, to help people who want to come to Europe through encouraging legal migration in a disciplined and regular manner" Davutoğlu vowed in a press conference with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
"The days of irregular migration to Europe are over. Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu confirmed that Turkey will take back irregular migrants apprehended in Turkish waters" Donald Tusk added in a press conference.
For each Syrian migrant returned, EU will accept a Syrian refugee, while offering progress on EU talks with Turkey.
"The Turkish proposal is a breakthrough, if it is implemented, to break the chain from getting into a boat to settling in Europe" German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Turkish PM Davutoğlu also disclaimed concerns of media crackdown in Turkey, stressing journalists have not been arrested due to journalism crimes; rather, law applies for some newspapers and journalists that work for "certain organizations". Decisions are made by the law, he said.