WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — Turkey, which is a transit country for most Syrian refugees en route to Europe, has been using the refugee issue as leverage to revive EU membership talks as well as to seek money from Brussels.
Earlier in February, media reports claimed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had demanded 30 billion euro ($34 billion) from the EU to help the country resolve the migrant crisis or would otherwise direct the migrants to Europe.
"You have to really understand what Turkey wants, and you need to be hard with them on the things that they are doing so badly… Turkey should be persuaded to do something about smugglers," Papademetriou said.
Papademetriou argued the most realistic way to deal with Turkey is to help the EU play on the card of Ankara’s ambitions.
"It wants to be a country that is the meeting point between the East and the West. If Europe can play on that ambition, it can make progress," Papademetriou maintained.
In early February, Brussels approved 3 billion euros in funds to help Turkey cope with the inflow of Syrian migrants.
Other countries, such as Greece, have similarly earned significant amounts from transporting the migrants to Europe, and directing them to EU destinations through pre-determined routes via Macedonia, Serbia and onto EU member states.
The EU border agency Frontex recorded more than 1.8 million illegal border crossings into the EU in 2015.