German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on major political issues including speeding up the process of Turkey’s admission to the European Union, visa liberalisation, sharing the refugee burden, and resolving the Syrian crisis in a meeting on Sunday.
Following the meeting in Istanbul, Erdogan said that the two leaders especially discussed EU membership chapters 15 (on energy), 17 (on economy and monetary policy) , 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights), 24 (on justice, freedom and security) and 31 (foreign, security and defense policy) which are all necessary for Turkey’s accession.
Erdogan also asked Merkel for the support of Germany and other European countries such as Spain, Holland and England regarding Turkey's EU membership process.
Turkey applied for EU accession in 1987 and the negotiation process began in 2005. So far, it has completed accession talks for 14 out of 35 chapters successfully.
President Erdogan said, "I could say that a deal on speeding up process of Turkey’s admission to European Union and visa liberalisation is in question and we are pleased with that."
Moreover, Erdogan said that he talked with Merkel about sharing the burden of the refugee crisis.
In response, Merkel stressed the significant role of Turkey in the issue, saying, "Turkey takes such a difficult responsibility as holding over two million refugees and we should certainly support Turkey about the burden."
She had earlier said that Europe’s effort to filter and process refugees would not work without Turkey’s cooperation.
The two leaders also emphasised the importance of acting in unison against all terror organisations after their meeting.
Merkel noted that the next meeting of the two leaders will be held during the G-20 Summit in Antalya which is expected to start on Nov. 15.
Merkel’s visit came as an EU summit held in Brussels called for the implementation of an action plan with Turkey to stop the refugee flow into Europe.
She said, “No country can shoulder the refugee burden alone. The refugee burden has to be shared,” following a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday.
Turkey has spent more than €6.75 billion of its own resources on refugees in the country who number more than 2.2 million. The European Commission said in a statement released on its website that the main objective is to assist Turkey in managing the situation of the massive influx of refugees and prevent uncontrolled migration from Turkey to the EU.