The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has pronounced this Saturday, during her farewell visit to Turkey, in favor of continuing the agreement between the European Union and Ankara to control migration in Europe.
For the Chancellor, it is important that the European Union continues to support Turkey “in the fight against illegal migration”, as explained after a meeting with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul, during what will be his last visit to Turkey as foreign minister.
Merkel stressed that support for Turkey on the issue of refugees it must be guaranteed “beyond what has already been agreed”. Erdogan, in turn, has ensured Turkey is a “host” country for refugees. “And so it will continue to be,” the Turkish president has ratified.
Erdogan further added that he hopes to cooperate well with the future German government as well before applauding the “reasonable approach” brought by Merkel during her 16-year tenure as head of Germany, and especially during the latest migration crisis.
The European Union and Turkey agreed five years ago that Turkey would proceed against illegal migration to the EU and that Greece could return migrants to Turkey who reached the Aegean islands. In return, the EU pays for each Syrian that returns a Syrian refugee from Turkey and supports the country in caring for refugees.
The country has already hosted some 3.7 million refugees from Syria and hundreds of thousands of migrants from other countries., including Afghanistan. The European Union plans to provide Turkey with another 3 billion euros.
“Turkey is doing something extraordinary in relation to Syrian refugees”, said Merkel, who underlined several times the effort made by the good relations between Germany and Turkey.
Rebel stronghold of Idlib
The foreign minister regretted that in Syria, despite the intervention of the United Nations, the situation is not evolving well and that around the rebel stronghold of Idlib, in fact, it is once again “very tense.”
The two leaders also spoke about Libya. In this sense, Merkel was pronounced in favor of the celebration of elections soon in that country of the North African and of “a lasting solution”.
Relations between Turkey and the German government have been turbulent in recent years. In 2017, in particular, the imprisonment of German citizens in Turkey greatly strained the relationship between Berlin and Ankara. That same year they deteriorated further after Erdogan personally attacked the chancellor with Nazi comparisons..
Since then, the two sides have grown closer, but the persecution of German citizens and members of the Turkish opposition remains a point of contention.
On Tuesday, a German of Kurdish origin was sentenced to more than two years in prison for terrorist propaganda. As in many other cases, the background was critical posts on social media.
Merkel will withdraw from government after the formation of a new coalition after last September’s elections in Germany, in which she no longer appeared as a candidate.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.