Merkel plans to visit Turkey next month

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to visit Turkey early next month, officials confirmed on Friday.

Merkel’s planned one-day visit to Ankara will focus on joint efforts to address the refugee crisis, cooperation in the fight against terrorism plus economic ties, a senior diplomat told Anadolu Agency.

The Chancellor is facing a tough election battle this year due to widespread discontent about her open-door policy for refugees, which led to arrival of 890,000 asylum seekers to Germany in 2015.

During her Ankara visit, she is expected to renew support for the EU-Turkey refugee agreement to stop irregular migration and highlight positive results achieved so far.

Championed by Merkel, the agreement has been successful in stopping the refugee influx, with number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany falling from 890,000 in 2015 to 280,000 in 2016.

Turkish leaders have been critical of the EU recently, accusing it of breaking promises made under the agreement in to share the task of hosting of refugees.

The EU and Turkey agreed in March on a plan to stop irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking cracking down on human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

While the EU pledged 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey and resettling some others in European countries, the implementation has been slow due to bureaucratic hurdles and the opposition of several EU member states to refugee relocation plans.

2017.01.20 / 16:29
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