Erdoğan, new EU commission head discuss Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the new president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen discussed Turkey's EU accession and the country’s Syrian refugee population in a phone call on Sunday.

The pair talked about the 2016 Ankara- EU agreement on Syrian refugees and  the voluntary return of Syrians to the safe zone being established in northern Syria during Leyen’s first day in office, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey and EU in 2016 agreed on a deal aiming to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised the allocation of €3 billion in aid to Turkey to help migrants. The deal also included the end of visa restrictions applied to Turkish citizens when travelling to Europe as of June 2016, but the visa restrictions still remain.

Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels last month launched an offensive in northeast Syria, aming to rid the region of Kurdish forces and create a safe zone, where million of the country’s Syrian refugees plan to be resettled.

Turkey is home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees.