Angela Merkel offers Turkey assistance for border region

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Refugee situation at the Turkish-Syrian border Angela Merkel offers Turkey assistance for border region

Germany and Turkey intend to work together to resolve the refugee crisis. In Ankara, the Chancellor also called on Russia to end attacks on Syrian civilians. In the refugee crisis the main thrust must now be to take in legal refugees and prevent illegal migration, she said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in discussion with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu

Germany will stand by Turkey and help care for the Syrian refugees, says Angela Merkel

Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins

At a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu , Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of the dramatic situation of refugees at the Turkish-Syrian border. Germany is "appalled at the human suffering of tens of thousands of people caused by bombing raids – bombing raids carried out largely by the Russian side".

Angela Merkel pointed out that Russia voted for the resolution of the United Nations Security Council on 18 December 2015, which demands that all parties immediately cease attacks against civilians and civilian targets in Syria. The Chancellor announced that "Turkey and Germany will once again go to the United Nations and demand compliance with this resolution, which was also signed by Russia".

Assistance from NATO and the THW

Angela Merkel announced that the NATO defence ministers will discuss "to what extent NATO can support the work of Frontex and the Turkish coast guard in monitoring the situation at sea" at their next meeting.

In view of the dramatic refugee situation at the Turkish-Syrian border, she said she had offered Turkey the services of Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) in helping the Turkish aid agency to care for the refugees.

Projects for refugees urgently needed

The EU is to provide Turkey with a sum of three billion euros to help it cope with the refugee crisis. Swift results are now needed, said Angela Merkel. "The fact that we are providing three billion euros does not help a Syrian refugee child living in Turkey who must go to school there. These children want to see a school, in the town where they are living, and they want to see it quickly." It is now important to ensure that the cash is used to benefit the refugees, swiftly and without red tape.

The Joint Action Plan between the EU and Turkey also serves to support Turkey. The Chancellor sees shared responsibility. "Humanitarian activities involving two governments or involving Turkey and the EU cannot be dictated by traffickers and smugglers. We must regain control of the situation," declared Angela Merkel.

Creating legal immigration channels

It is important to ensure that the way out of Syria via Turkey is not illegal, but that it is "controlled, legal and organised by us" continued the Chancellor. In this way the number of refugees arriving in Europe and in Germany is also to be significantly reduced.

"We want to create legal immigration channels in the form of quotas," said Angela Merkel. That is why the establishment of a working group was also discussed. The German government basically sees a quota system as a way of relieving pressure on Syria’s neighbouring states that are bearing the brunt of the influx of refugees.