Turkey and Germany agree on refugee policy
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
AA PhotoTurkey and Germany are in full consensus on the refugee crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu has said, adding Germany’s views on the issue were the most similar to Turkey’s among European countries.
“Germany’s attitude should be an example to others in Europe,” Sinirlioğlu said, speaking at a press conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The Turkish and German foreign ministers met on Sept. 18 over the refugee crisis Europe has been facing recently, which has seen thousands of Syrians flowing into European states, largely from the Turkish border.
Steinmeier stressed both international organizations and Syria’s neighboring countries, including Turkey, should be financially assisted.
Asked about solutions in Syria with the inclusion of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Sinirlioğlu said the Syrian president has already been placed “in the dark pages of history.”
“Al-Assad has no role to play, whether in Syria’s future or in efforts to bring stability to Syria,” Sinirlioğlu said.
The minister said Turkey has some plans to resolve the Syrian crisis, without further elaborating on the issue.
The European Union will not close its borders to refugees, its term president, Luxemburg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, said in Ankara earlier in the day, while noting the EU was working on financial aid for Turkey’s Syrian refugees within the country.
“We will not close our doors. We will establish an admission mechanism. EU member states should receive refugees in an equal way, otherwise we will not be able to handle this case,” Asselborn said, speaking at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart.
“Wire fences cannot be a solution of this crisis. The EU’s response should be solidarity,” he added.
The EU is currently working on a financial package for Turkey to deal with the refugee crisis, Asselborn said, while stressing that it does not aim to stop refugees by simply “giving money to Turkey.”
The EU ministers for refugees will hold a meeting next Tuesday and then the European Council will gather to draw up the EU’s policy on refugees, Asselborn said, noting they will also discuss aid for Turkey.
“I don’t want to be misunderstood: I am not talking about keeping them in Turkey. But we have to give financial assistance. Turkey has taken on a big responsibility and it’s our duty as the EU to help,” he added.
Asked about whether Turkey wanted to host all refugees or allow them to cross into Europe, Sinirlioğlu said they all have “free will.”
“We have to help them go wherever they want, but in an orderly way. Turkey does not have a policy of locking these people in,” the Turkish foreign minister said.
He also stressed that all parties should prioritize eliminating the conditions in Syria which caused people to flee the country in the first place, emphasizing a “political solution.”
Steinmeier also held a meeting with Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, on Sept. 18.
Steinmeier was accompanied by his country’s ambassador in Ankara, Martin Erdmann, while Kılıçdaroğlu was accompanied by CHP deputy leaders Selin Sayek Böke and Faik Öztrak, as well as Eskişehir deputy Utku Çakırözer, the CHP announced in a brief statement.