Merkel and Davutoglu discuss refugees, Russian air strikes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discuss recent massive refugee flow to Turkish border following regime advances in northern Syria backed by heavy Russian air strikes

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, Turkey February 8, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday in the capital of Turkey, Ankara to discuss the escalating refugee influx after Syrian regime forces made significant advances in the northern countryside of Aleppo reinforced by Russian bombardments.

The visit is Merkel’s second trip to Turkey in recent months as she visited the country on Oct. 18 for talks again on the Syrian refugees.

Turkey will admit the almost 30,000 people recently 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.

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.

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. 

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Friday that Merkel and Davutoglu decided on the trip when they met at last week's aid conference for Syria in London.

Turkey, a key country on the refugee route to Europe, is central to Merkel's diplomatic efforts to reduce the number of asylum-seekers coming to Germany. She has resisted pressure for unilateral measures such as a national cap on refugee numbers.

Following the recent meeting, Davutoglu said that Turkey would inform Brussels next week on the initial projects it plans after receiving 3 billion euros in funds from the EU aimed at curbing record flows of refugees to Europe via Turkey, where nearly 2.7 million Syrians are already sheltering.

At a joint press conference of the two leaders on Jan. 22, Davutoglu also reaffirmed Turkey’s close ties with Berlin and said that Ankara was working “hand in hand” with Berlin in fighting against DAESH terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.

Merkel stated at the time that, “A solution of the military conflict in Syria is the most hopeful message that we can have, especially in light of the migrant [refugee] crisis. And therefore, we work politically, but we are also united in the coalition against DAESH and fight together."

TRTWorld and agencies