Germany’s Merkel to pay snap visit to Ankara
AP photoGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay a one-day working visit to Ankara on Feb. 8 to discuss ongoing efforts by Turkey and the European Union to stem the flow of irregular migrants into the EU.
The visit will take place upon the invitation of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, sources told Anadolu Agency on Feb. 5. The two leaders had held a brief meeting in London on Feb. 4 on the sidelines of the Supporting Syria and the Region donors’ conference.
The top issue the German and Turkish leaders will prioritize in their upcoming meeting will be the implementation of the Action Plan that envisages stopping the flow of irregular migrants to EU member countries and keeping them in Turkey, in return for the 3 billion-euro assistance package to be provided to Turkey.
“The core of the meeting will be on how the action plan agreed between Turkey and the EU in late November is implemented,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin.
Seibert said Merkel and Davutoğlu would also discuss ways to stop illegal human trafficking through the Aegean Sea. Turkey is expected to reduce the number of irregular migrants trying to reach the Schengen area but some EU officials say the results are not satisfactory.
The Davutoğlu-Merkel visit will take place before a key summit between Turkey and eight like-minded EU countries on Feb. 18 in Brussels to evaluate the implementation of the Action Plan.
The two leaders will also discuss Turkey’s ongoing EU membership process as well as other bilateral issues.
The ongoing civil war in Syria and Russia’s intensified military operations, especially in northern Syria, will also be on the agenda.