German Chancellor Angela Merkel has done something of a U-turn and offered Turkey a deal: support for faster progress with its bid to join the European Union in return for more cooperation with stemming the flow of migrants and refugees, and reaccepting those who have been rejected by Europe.
Speaking in Istanbul at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, Merkel said Germany would be willing to help accelerate the path to visa-free travel to the EU for Turks and push forward Ankara’s protracted EU membership talks.
In return, she expects Turkey to agree more quickly to take in migrants sent back by the EU, so-called “readmission agreements” that Davutoglu has said he will sign up to only if there is progress on liberalizing the visa regime for Turks.
The German chancellor reiterated her opposition to Turkey joining the EU just 10 days ago, with her and her party previously saying they were strongly against Turkey entering the EU because of its poor human rights record.
But now she needs Turkey’s help that position has apparently changed. “I think we have used the crisis we are experiencing, through a very disorderly and uncontrolled movement of refugees, to again achieve closer cooperation on many issues, both between the European Union and Turkey, and between Germany and Turkey,” Merkel said after meeting the Turkish premier.
One Turkish diplomat quoted in the Independent before Sunday’s talks commented: “You can’t criticize Turkey from Monday to Friday and then on Saturday come and beg for support.”
Read More: Germany Offers Turkey a Deal: Support For EU Bid In Return For Migration Crisis Help | VICE News
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