Monday

22nd Jan 2018

Merkel in Turkey to salvage migrant deal

  • Merkel (l) on her most recent trip to Turkey last month to visit refugee camps (Photo: The European Union.)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will not shy away from controversial issues when she meets Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan later, amid criticism the German leader has made too many concessions to save the EU-Turkey migration deal.

Ahead of a two-day trip to Istanbul to attend a UN refugee summit with 50 other representatives and heads of state, Merkel rejected accusations in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that the EU has become too dependent on Turkey because of the migration deal.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Of course there are mutual dependencies, which you could also call a necessity to reconcile interests,” Merkel said.

Merkel has championed the deal that allows Greece to send back migrants to Turkey, despite concerns over Turkey's rights record and treatment of refugees.

Erdogan has used the deal to shore up his power at home, and used it as a bargaining chip with Europe. He has threatened to scrap the deal if Turkey does not get visa liberalisation from the EU.

On her fifth visit to Turkey in eight months, Merkel is trying to strike a balance between protecting the deal and avoiding being seen as accommodating too much to Erdogan’s whims.

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung interview, the German chancellor criticised the Turkish parliament’s vote on Friday to deprive almost all of the MPs from the main pro-Kurdish of their legal immunity.

The move paves the way for Turkey to put many of its leading Kurdish politicians on trial.

“We want that the Kurdish people have their equal place and a good future in Turkey,” Merkel said, adding she would raise “all the important questions” with Erdogan.

She also criticised the breakdown of talks between the government and the Kurdish community last year.

Pushing Turkey's membership bid

Merkel also remains under pressure at home because of the deal.

She was criticised last month for allowing the prosecution of a German comedian who made fun of Erdogan after a complaint from the Turkish leader.

Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU, the sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said Sunday that the pact had “mixed up things that have nothing to do with each other” by linking the refugee issue with Turkey’s bid to join the EU and visa-free travel.

“One should never allow oneself to be blackmailed,” Seehofer said.

In the interview, Merkel stood by the deal, saying: “I am convinced that it’s in German, European and Turkish interests, and especially in the interests of those who are fleeing war and persecution.”

She added she is irritated by what seems like some people almost looking forward to the deal failing.

The visit comes as one of Erdogan’s closest allies, Binali Yildirim, was officialy appointed prime minister on Sunday after he was elected chairman of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP).

In his first speech Yildirim said the time has come for the EU to be clear about Turkey’s membership process.

“The time has come to know what they think about Turkey,” he said.

Juncker warns Turkey over visas

Turkey will have to reform its anti-terrorism laws or the planned visa-free deal with the EU will fall apart.

EP stops work on Turkey visa waiver

The EU parliament has stopped all work on the commission's plan to lift visas for Turkish nationals. The move could spell the end of the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

EU defends Turkey deal in light of Greek court ruling

The EU Commission on Monday fended off suggestions a decision by a Greek apeals court not to send back a Syrian aslyum seeker to Turkey, because it is not safe, doesn not endanger the EU-Turkey deal.

Merkel casts doubt on Turkey visa-free travel

German chancellor after meeting with the Turkish president, said it was likely that conditions would not be met by 1 July as agreed in the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

News in Brief

  1. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  2. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time
  3. CSU politicians set to oppose concessions to SPD
  4. Greek mass protests against use of 'Macedonia' in name dispute
  5. Oxfam report reveals inequality as Davos elite gather
  6. Macron: France would probably have voted to quit EU
  7. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  8. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. How Oettinger's CO2 permit sale could fill Brexit blackhole
  2. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  3. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  4. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  5. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  6. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  7. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  8. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names