Turkey offers to cooperate with EU on refugee crisis
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hold a joint press conference after their meeting on October 18, 2015, in Istanbul. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)
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Turkey is ready to "open all channels of cooperation" to help the European Union resolve an escalating refugee crisis at its borders, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday at a joint meeting with German opposite number Angela Merkel.
Davutoglu stressed, however, that it was essential to find a resolution to the Syrian conflict to ensure a permanent end to the crisis, the worst of its kind facing the 28-nation bloc since World War II.
Merkel said the world was facing a "crisis beyond control", adding that cooperation between German and Turkish government should grow to adequately tackle the refugee influx.
Davutoglu reiterated Turkey's stance on the necessity of establishing a safe zone in northern Syria "for there not to be new waves of migration".
Meanwhile, the Chancellor said Germany was willing to help revive Turkey's stalling EU accession process by opening Economy and Monetary Policy chapters to negotiations.
An EU summit in Brussels called on Friday for implementing an action plan with Turkey -- which came complete with several economic and political incentives for Ankara -- to stop the flow of refugees into Europe.
There are 2.5 million refugees in Turkey, and the country has so far spent $8 billion on refugees, while support from other world countries amounted to only $417 million.
According to the plan, EU would offer economic aid and humanitarian assistance for refugees hosted in Turkey, which is keen to establish a safe area for refugees to live inside Syria.
Under the action plan, presented by the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels on Oct. 5, the EU offered 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) in humanitarian assistance for refugees hosted in Turkey, which has asked for 3 billion euros in aid.
In addition, the EU leaders agreed to accelerate the visa liberalization process for Turkish citizens seeking to visit the 28-nation bloc’s Schengen borderless zone if Turkey manages to reduce the flow of refugees coming into Europe.