EU-Turkey refugee deal still intact, Merkel says

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Berlin, Germany on September 28, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

European nations remain committed to the 2016 European Union-Turkey refugee deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Tuesday, following a four-way videoconference with her Turkish, French and British counterparts, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.

Merkel told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that she was willing to increase EU funds for the care of refugees in Turkey in return for Ankara stopping thousands of refugees from attempting to cross the Turkish-Greek border.

The call followed the eruption of a new migrant crisis on the EU’s external border after Erdoğan last month opened Turkey’s frontier. The decision prompted thousands of migrants and refugees to rush towards the Greek side of the border.

Erdoğan’s move sought to pressure Brussels to help Turkey deal with a new humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Syria’s Idlib province. Turkey is already struggling with helping some 3.5 million Syrians who have fled the 10-year conflict.

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