German Chancellor Merkel meets President Erdogan in Ankara

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during her official visit to Ankara

Photo by: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
Photo by: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Ankara, Turkey February 8, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Compound in Ankara on Monday.   

The two leaders held an official meeting which lasted for one hour.

Merkel also met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier in the day to discuss the escalating refugee influx following the news that Syrian regime forces have made significant advances in the northern countryside of Aleppo reinforced by Russian bombardments.

“The latest developments in Syria are an attempt to pressure Turkey and Europe on the refugee issue,” Davutoglu said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following their meeting.

Turkey will admit the almost 30,000 people currently fleeing war-torn Syria who have amassed at the border "when necessary," Davutoglu said, adding Russia's air assault should not be tolerated with the idea that Turkey will accept the refugees.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have been coming to the Turkish border north of Aleppo since Thursday, following heavy Russian air strikes and reports of Syrian regime forces and its allies making gains in Aleppo's northern countryside cutting opposition supply lines to Turkey.

Merkel said she is shocked by the suffering of civilians in Syria who are fleeing the city of Aleppo under heavy bombardment from Russian-backed government forces.

"We are now, over the last few days, not only appalled but also shocked by the human suffering of tens of thousands of people through bombing attacks, and also bombing attacks originating from the Russian side," she said.

The flow of refugees braving the seas seeking sanctuary in Europe dipped towards the end of last year coinciding with colder weather, but the total figure still reached 1 million in 2015, nearly five times more than in the previous year.

Turkey is host to more than 2.5 million Syrians and has spent around $8.5 billion on feeding and housing them using its own sources since the start of the civil war nearly five years ago.

TRTWorld and agencies