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Turkey PM hails 'better approach' from EU on refugees after Merkel talks

19 october 2015, 10:37

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday praised a "better approach" from the European Union in sharing the burden of the refugee crisis, following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Istanbul, AFP reports.

"Unfortunately Turkey was left alone by the international community in terms of burden sharing. We are very pleased there is a better approach now. The issue of sharing going forwards is very important," said Davutoglu.

The EU and Turkey are currently trying to agree a plan for the Turkish authorities to stem the flow of migrants in exchange for greater financial help for Ankara.

"I am confident we can achieve good results on these goals," said Davutoglu. 

He hailed Merkel for "not turning a blind eye" to the refugee crisis.

"Many others said refugees should be sent back (from the EU). She displayed a humanitarian position," he added.

Merkel said that the fact Turkey had accomplished the immense task of looking after over two million Syrian refugees on relatively little funding had led to a "migration pressure" which resulted in the influx of migrants into Europe.

"Turkey had little international help until now for the huge contribution it has made," said Merkel.

She said it was in the interests of neither side that this resulted in illegal migration into the EU.

"This cannot be the aim. We will engage ourselves more strongly financially as the European Union. Germany will play its part," she promised.

Davutoglu also warned that new fighting around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo risks creating "significant new waves of migration".

He said that "some Iranian militia" and the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah had been putting pressure on Aleppo, leading to greater fighting coupled with the air strikes by Russia which Turkey has vehemently opposed.

"I would like to warn about Aleppo.... it gives rise to significant concern. We must make sure there are no more waves of migration" from Syria, he said.

Merkel echoed Davutoglu's comments: "It's important we don't have a new wave of refugees from Aleppo," she said.

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