Merkel promises Erdoğan she will speed up refugee aid
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on Nov. 30 that she will work to speed up the delivery of promised EU aid for Syrians in Turkey, according to presidential sources.
In a phone conversation between Erdoğan and Merkel, regional developments concerning Syria and bilateral relations were discussed, said the sources.
Erdoğan also told Merkel about last week’s Sochi summit on Syria.
On Nov. 22, Erdoğan met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to discuss Syria.
Erdoğan and Merkel also discussed the importance of cooperation in the fight against all terror groups, with primary emphasis on the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The two leaders also agreed to accelerate high-level bilateral contacts after Germany finishes forming a government.
A March 2016 EU-Turkey deal to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea included a 6 billion euro ($7.07 billion) aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees hosted in the country.
Turkey now hosts some 3 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. The country has spent nearly $30 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
The EU promised to initially allocate 3 billion euros for projects to support Syrian refugees, but Turkey has so far received only 800 million euros ($943 million), and has complained about the EU’s failure to keep its promises.