Turkish PM hails EU migrant deal as 'historic day'

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) talks with EU Council President Donald Tusk during the EU summit at headquarters in Brussels on March 18, 2016 (AFP Photo/John Thys)

Brussels (AFP) - Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hailed a "historic day" Friday as the European Union and his country clinched a deal to try and curb the flow of migrants to Europe.

"It is also a historic day because we reached a very important agreement between Turkey and the EU," Davutoglu said at a press conference following a Brussels summit.

"We today realised that Turkey and the EU have the same destiny, the same challenges and the same future."

Under the deal, all new irregular migrants arriving in Greece will be sent back to Turkey.

The EU would take in one Syrian refugee from Turkish soil in exchange for every Syrian readmitted to Turkey from Greece in a move designed to discourage them from risking their lives in boats operated by smugglers.

In return, Turkey won an acceleration of its long-stalled bid for EU membership, the doubling of refugee aid to six billion euros ($6.8 billion) and visa-free travel by June.