Talks for new migrant deal should start immediately, Erdoğan tells Merkel


Turkey told Germany to immediately launch talks for the renewal of the 2016 migrant deal between Ankara and Brussels ahead of the EU Council meeting in late March.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a videoconference to discuss the bilateral ties and Turkey-EU relations late Feb. 8. The dialogue between the two leaders came as efforts between Ankara and Brussels for prioritizing what they call the "positive agenda" accelerated.

According to the Presidential Communications Directorate, Erdoğan and Merkel discussed the ways to improve the bilateral ties, Turkey-EU relations as well as the regional issues. It informed that President Erdoğan expressed his will to intensify contacts between the parties so that technical talks for the renewal of the migrant deal could be launched soon.

Turkey and the EU agreed on a statement given on March 18, 2016, that created a solid basis for cooperation between the two parties in a bid to address the growing refugee problem stemming from the instability in Syria.

The 2016 agreement aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and by improving the conditions of nearly 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

It also highlighted ways to revive Turkey's accession process to the EU, to modernize the customs union, and to grant Turkish nationals visa-free travel to Schengen areas.

The EU's fair and constructive approach towards Turkey will be to the benefit of both sides, Erdoğan said, expressing his expectation for a high-level Turkey-EU summit during Portugal's term presidency.

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