Over the next year and into early 2022, the European Union is planning to spend nearly half a billion euros on Syrian migrants currently living in Turkey.
The European Commission announced the move this week, which will see an extension of aid programmes that will be managed by the Turkish branch of the Red Crescent aid group along with the Red Cross and UNICEF, with part of the money going toward educating an estimated 700,000 children living in Turkey.
According to a report from the Greek newspaper I Kathimerini, the money will go toward 1.8 million migrants in total, while an estimated four million migrants currently reside in the country.
The cash comes after years of cash payments from the European Union to migrants in Turkey after the negotiation of the EU-Turkey migrant deal in 2016 that has paid out an estimated 6 billion euros. The deal also made promises to extend visa-free travel to Turkish citizens but has not delivered on the promise, which was made in exchange for Turkey keeping migrants from entering the European Union.
After repeated threats, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the gates to migrants earlier this year and tens of thousands of migrants attempted to cross the land border between Greece and Turkey in the Evros region.