Merkel in Turkey

Merkel in Turkey

Ankara, October 19, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Manolis Kostidis

On her official visit to Turkey on Sunday, Angel Merkel had good results from her meetings with Ahmet Davutoglu and Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She promised the future lifting of visas for Turkish citizens, financial assistance for hosting refugees, but also gave promises on the issue of Turkey’s accession course to the EU, in exchange for Turkey to take steps to address the refugee crisis.

The German Chancellor, after stressing that Germany “wants a stable Turkey”, promised to speed up Turkey’s accession process to the EU and stressed that “Germany would like to open chapter 17 and to make preparations for chapters 23 24. We can talk about the details”, Merkel said, passing the message that the long ‘frozen’ accession talks will resume.

To a question on the objections of Cyprus regarding Turkey’s refusal to open its ports and airports to cypriot ships and airports, Merkel said that “of course, the rest of the chapter are also important. And of course for the integration (of Turkey) the approval of all members is needed. And of course we will also grand our support regarding Cyprus”.

The Merkel-Davutoglu meeting lasted 1.5 hours at the office of the Turkish Prime Minister at the Dolmabahce Palace and the Turkish prime minister seemed satisfied with the results. “Turkey is ready to work with Germany to halt the wave of illegal immigration to Europe”, said the Turkish prime minister, stressing that “the burden of the refugee crisis should be shared fairly and a solution to the refugee problem is only possible if a solution the civil war is given”. Davutoglu did not miss the opportunity to promote Ankara’s position for the creation of a buffer zone in Syria, with which reportedly Merkel disagreed again.

The German Chancellor promised future lifting of visa to Turkish citizens but clarified that this can happen after 2016, after Turkey implements the agreement with the EU mainly on the return of immigrants. She stressed that Turkey has so far not received adequate financial support to address the refugee crisis, but also pointed out that “Turkey’s accession to the EU is a perspective with an uncertain future”.

After the meeting with Davutoglu, Merkel visited Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the mansion Mabeyn Kasrı in Besiktas district. The two leaders stressed that main topics of discussion were the refugee crisis, countering terrorism and Turkey’s relations with the EU.

According to information, at the meeting there was a disagreement about the future of Syria, with Erdogan calling for the immediate overthrow of Assad while Germany has its reservations. However, the Turkish President was satisfied with the ‘unfreezing’ of accession negotiations, and Berlin shows its determination to support Ankara in dealing with the refugee crisis and the issue of joint patrols in the Aegean.

Turkish political analysts believe that Merkel’s visit to Turkey and the presence of Francois Hollande to Athens next Thursday is a EU effort to persuade the two countries to cooperate in tackling the refugee crisis.