• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Merkel pushes Turkey to stem flow of migrants
A police officer argues with a Syrian refugee and his child at the Turkish-Greek border. Photo: DPA

Merkel pushes Turkey to stem flow of migrants

AFP · 22 Jan 2016, 08:29

Published: 22 Jan 2016 08:29 GMT+01:00

Germany and Turkey have emerged as key players in the biggest migration crisis to rock Europe since World War II, and both parties will seek to drive a hard bargain at the talks between the two countries' cabinets.

With the meeting coming on the heels of last week's attack in Istanbul that killed 10 German tourists, discussions would also invariably focus on the international battle against the Islamic State group, Merkel's spokesman said.

The outcome of Friday's meeting is not only important for Merkel, who faces intense pressure at home to impose a cap on Germany's refugee intake, but it will also have resonance across Europe where public opinion is hardening against a record asylum seeker influx.

Merkel has so far faced down domestic demands for a quota, after nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in Germany in 2015.

She has instead promised a "tangible reduction" in new arrivals, and is counting on international efforts to deliver.

Turkey plays a pivotal role as it is a launchpad for thousands of people making the dangerous sea journey on rubber boats to Europe.

"Stopping the refugee influx will be a topic at the government consultations," Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen confirmed Thursday during a visit to Turkey.

'Not asking for money'

Merkel will ask Davutoglu to honour a deal with the EU to reduce the number of migrants coming through, as between 2,000 and 3,000 people are still arriving daily in Greece from Turkey despite the November 29 accord.

But the EU hasn't delivered on the deal either, with member states still squabbling over how much each should pay in aid to help the 2.2 million Syrian refugees that Turkey is hosting.

Davutoglu Thursday said he would not even ask about the €3 billion promised by the EU but will demand concrete action instead.

"We are not asking (for) money, we are not negotiating (for) money... For us, it's a humanitarian duty, therefore the problem is not financial assistance," Davutoglu told the Davos summit of business and political elites.

"We are asking for solidarity, we are asking to have a sense of common destiny," he said on the eve of the Berlin talks.

"We will be discussing these with my dear colleague Merkel and we hope the next steps will be concrete steps to address this issue," he added.

Die Welt newspaper said "it is possible that Germany would promise additional bilateral funds".

And both sides might point to a recent success in cooperation – major raids announced Wednesday by German and Turkish police which dismantled a criminal trafficking network that used unseaworthy ships to send more than 1,700 refugees to Europe.

Press freedom, Kurds

Turkey has a special relationship with Germany as the EU's biggest economy is not only home to around three million people with Turkish roots, but is also its biggest trading partner.

Friday's talks are part of so-called government consultations - a format that Germany has with only a handful of countries, including India and China.

Story continues below…

It will be the first such meeting with Turkey, and includes interior, foreign and defence ministers from both sides.

Merkel herself has said she will use the occasion to raise thorny topics such as media freedom and the situation of the Kurds.

Turkey is waging an all-out offensive against the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), with military operations backed by curfews aimed at flushing out rebels from several southeastern urban centres.

But Kurdish activists say dozens of civilians have died as a result of excessive force and the operations have become the subject of huge controversy in Turkish society.

Concerns over press freedom are also rising in Turkey, after an increasing number of journalists were arrested or taken to court over charges of insulting or criticising top officials.

Under the banner "Not welcome, Mr Davutoglu", Kurdish and some other Turkish groups in Germany are planning to march in protest to the chancellery, where the talks are due to begin at midday.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Berlin puts spies on tighter leash after NSA scandal
An installation of the BND in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Germany on Tuesday approved new measures to rein in the activities of its foreign intelligence agency after a scandal over improper collusion with the US National Security Agency.

Brexit vote
There's no way back for Britain, says 'sad' Merkel
Angela Merkel (r) and David Cameron in Brussels. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the EU summit in Brussels late on Tuesday that she didn't see any way that the British decision to leave the EU could be reversed.

Brexit vote
British business owner in Germany: why I support Brexit
Alexander McWhinney, owner of The English Shops. Photo: Private.

Scottish business owner Alexander McWhinney tells The Local why he supported the vote for a Brexit despite being an expat - much to the surprise of employees at his stores in the Rhineland.

Germany seeks seat on UN security council
The United Nations Security Council. Photo: DPA

Berlin last had a seat at the highest table of international security in 2011-12. Now the Foreign Minister has announced that Germany wants the role again.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Britain can’t cherry-pick Brexit terms
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that the EU could survive a Brexit and warned Britain the union would not tolerate "cherry-picking" in upcoming negotiations on their future relations.

This film makes Darmstadt look more romantic than Paris
The Russian Orthodox Church in Darmstadt. Source: City, Light and Movement.

Not quite sure where Darmstadt is? A short film shot by a Syrian refugee will have you rushing to locate it on a map.

VW agrees to $14.7 bn payout in US emissions probe
Photo: DPA

Volkswagen has agreed to pay out $14.7 billion in a settlement with US authorities and car owners in the probe over its emissions-cheating diesel-powered cars, court documents showed Tuesday.

Brexit vote
Left leader calls for German referendum on EU deals
Left Party leader Sahra Wagenknecht. Photo: DPA.

The left-wing leader of the official opposition party in Germany said that it’s time the German people also have a say on what goes on in Brussels.

Teacher overpaid quarter of a million euros. No one notices
Photo: DPA

The Düsseldorf teacher was paid a full-time salary for six years, despite only working part time.

Euro 2016
Germans react with glee to England’s Iceland humiliation
Distraught England players after Iceland defeat. photo: DPA

Still upset by their British brothers voting for Brexit, Germans expressed an overwhelming sense of Schadenfreude at England's Euro 2016 exit.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
7,865
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd