German Chancellor Angela Merkel is offering incentives to Turkey in exchange for its cooperation in a European Union effort to stem a wave of migrants displaced by fighting in Syria.
These include pressing the EU to speed up a deal providing visa-free travel for Turkish nationals and a readmission agreement that will allow European countries to return migrants to Turkey, the Wall Street Journal reports citing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Merkel is in Ankara for talks with Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
She is pushing to iron out differences between Turkey and the EU on an action plan as Germany grapples with one million refugees expected at the bloc’s most populous and influential member.
Turkey and Germany agreed on the need for burden-sharing, Davutoglu and Merkel said in a joint press briefing.
Davutoglu praised Merkel’s leadership and “brave stance” on the refugee crisis.
Merkel is facing mounting criticism over her embrace of refugees at home and from some EU members such as Hungary while lingering disagreements and a range of demands hamper an EU-Turkish action plan on migration.
European countries want Turkey to bolster border patrols to stem the flow of mostly Syrian asylum seekers while also boosting efforts to integrate the refugees into Turkish society as the Syrian civil war drags on.
Turkey seeks support from the EU and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies for a safe zone inside Syria which would provide an area to resettle refugees.
“It is very difficult to solve the refugee crisis without solving the problem in Syria,” Davutoglu said.
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