Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warmly greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Turkey before difficult talks. „I feel very fortunate to welcome Ms. Merkel to our country five days after the Berlin conference,“ he said in Istanbul this morning.
Merkel had arrived the night before for a one-day visit. The two had last seen each other on Sunday at the Berlin Libya conference. Erdogan and Merkel’s first meeting was the opening of a new campus at the German-Turkish University in Istanbul.
It is very important that the Chancellor begin her journey with the opening of the university, said Erdogan, who called Merkel his „esteemed friend“. He hoped that the university would be a symbol of the friendship between the two countries.
Merkel is in Istanbul for a whole day. After the appointment at the university, Erdogan and Merkel want to meet for political talks. Among other things, the crises in Libya and Syria as well as bilateral issues will be discussed. Many – such as the human rights situation in Turkey and refugee policy – are controversial.
Turkey sees EU aid as insufficient
The crux of the matter are several million Syrian refugees in Turkey and a pact with the EU that guarantees Ankara EU aid and curbs migration towards Europe. However, the agreement shook again and again because in Turkey the refugees are becoming a political issue due to the poor economic situation and Erdogan regards the aid from Europe as insufficient. He has repeatedly threatened to open the borders to Europe for the refugees should he no longer get help.