Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Merkel and Turkish PM in show of support

  • Davutoglu: "Germany and Ms. Merkel are not alone." (Photo: Turkish PM office)

Contested at home, even in her own party, and criticised in other European countries over her migration policy, German chancellor Angela Merkel received on Friday (22 January) the support of her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Merkel in return hinted at a further contribution from the EU to help Turkey assist the Syrian refugees.

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"Germany and Ms Merkel are not alone," said Davutoglu at a joint press conference after the first German-Turkish "government consultations" in Berlin.

The Turkish PM praised Merkel's policy, saying she had made "a historic step" when she accepted to receive all Syrian refugees coming to Germany.

In a joint communiqué published after the press conference, the two prime ministers said that Davutoglu "emphasised the commitment of the government of Turkey to undertaking all possible efforts to substantially reduce the number of irregular migrants in the near future".

'Deal with it together'

Turkey also "pledged to facilitate the readmission of irregular migrants not in need of protection," the statement said.

Asked if she felt alone amid the growing contestation over her decisions and failure to achieve results in the management of the crisis, Merkel told reporters that she didn't "have the impression, especially now".

The main item on the meeting's agenda was the cooperation between Turkey and the EU, especially Germany, to try to reduce the number of migrants coming to Europe.

Davutoglu came to Berlin to ask for more money to address the presence of more than two million refugees in Turkey.

 In an interview with the DPA press agency on Thursday, he said that the €3 billion the EU agreed to give were "just to show the political will to share the burden. We will review it again."

Turkey has done "all according to humanity to help these people", he said at the press conference about the refugees.

But, he added, "Turkey cannot manage the problem alone. We must deal with it together."

In response, Merkel said that "of course, we must make a burden sharing".

"The three billion will be made available from the European side. I assured that again today," she said.

The joint communiqué, the two leaders went further and described the €3 billion package as an "initial financial support … to assist Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey".

Merkel and Davutoglu also agreed to "meaningfully advanc[e] the negotiations between Turkey and the EU on visa liberalisation with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens to the Schengen area by October 2016," according to the German statement.

About Turkey's EU membership negotiations, they said that "the accession process needs to be re-energised".

On that last issue, Davutoglu said that Merkel's efforts were "very important" for Turkey.

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