Merkel pledges to Erdoğan sped-up refugee aid, Ankara says

In phone call, German chancellor tells Turkish president she will work to accelerate €3B in promised aid for Syrian refugees
Thursday, 30 November 2017 20:30

Germany’s chancellor told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late Thursday that she will work to speed up the delivery of promised European Union (EU) aid for Syrians in Turkey, according to presidential sources.

In a phone conversation between Erdoğan and Angela Merkel, regional developments concerning Syria and bilateral relations were discussed, said the sources, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 

Erdoğan also told Merkel about last week's Sochi summit on Syria. Last Wednesday, Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to discuss Syria.

The two leaders also agreed to accelerate high-level bilateral contacts after Germany finishes forming a government, Anadolu reported.

In March 2016, the EU and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the EU through its territory in exchange for Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis.

In return, Brussels pledged to provide a total of 3 billion euros to Ankara for refugee accommodation in 2016-2017, with a further 3 billion-euro provision likely in 2018. The bloc additionally promised to accelerate Ankara's EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and Europe.

On Wednesday, Erdoğan and German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the need to improve ties between their countries and take mutual steps to that end during a phone call.

Aside from bilateral relations, Erdoğan also briefed Steinmeier about a summit on Syria's conflict held by Turkey, Russia and Iran in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Nov. 22.