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EU, Turkey reach deal on controlling refugee flow

16 October 2015 6:04


The European Union and Turkey have reached a deal to find a solution to block the huge influx of refugees into the member states of the bloc.

The deal was reached during a summit of European leaders in Belgian capital, Brussels, on Thursday. Under the deal, Ankara agreed to confront people-smugglers and act to prevent more refugees fleeing the Syrian crisis from crossing the sea to enter the 28-member bloc.

European leaders, in return, agreed to consider more funds for Turkey to handle the problem and to accelerate work to ease visa restrictions on Turkish citizens travelling to Europe.

European Council President Donald Tusk described the deal as a “major step forward” but added that “an agreement with Turkey only makes sense if it effectively contains the flow of refugees.”

Afghan refugee killed

The development came after an Afghan refugee was shot dead on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, forcing the Bulgarian Premier Boyko Borisov to fly home from the summit where the agreement with Turkey was announced.

“One man suffered a gunshot wound in the incident and died on the way to hospital,” a Bulgarian Interior Ministry spokeswoman said, adding that the Afghan man was killed in an “incident” after a large group of migrants tried to cross the frontier.

Meanwhile, seven asylum seekers lost their lives on Thursday as their wooden boat capsized after colliding with a Greek rescue vessel in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece.

Rescuers said four children were among the dead when their wooden boat sank off the Greek island of Lesbos within minutes after crashing with a 30-meter-long Greek coastguard vessel.

On Wednesday, a woman, a young girl and a baby coming from neighboring Turkey died after their boat sank off Lesbos.

Scores of asylum seekers have died making the perilous Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.

The International Organization for Migration says more than 600,000 asylum seekers have landed on Europe’s shores since January, while more than 3,000 have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe.

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