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Merkel, EU Officials Visit Syrian Refugee Camp Upon Arrival in Turkey

© REUTERS / Bundesregierung/Steffen KuglerTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose for a picture with refugees in Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose for a picture with refugees in Nizip refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey, April 23, 2016 - Sputnik International
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with EU Council President Donald Tusk and First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans visited the Nizip refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border, accompanied by Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to media reports.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as other top EU officials, arrived in Turkey on Saturday and visited a migrant camp on the Turkish-Syrian border, media reported.

Merkel, along with EU Council President Donald Tusk and First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans visited the Nizip refugee camp, accompanied by Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper said.

The European delegation was warmly welcomed and "sincerely applauded" by the Syrian refugees dressed in national costumes and met by dancing children. Many refugees expressed willingness to take pictures with the European guests.

Merkel personally visited the blocks where refugee families lived. The delegation headed by the chancellor also visited a kindergarten and a school where the refugee children were taught by Syrian teachers in their local language.

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The Nizip refugee camp, founded in 2013, is home to some 5,000 Syrian migrants.

Before the visit, Merkel announced that her key purpose was to observe the living conditions of refugees in Turkey.

Her visit comes just a month after the European Union and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants arriving to the European Union through its territory in exchange for Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis.

In return, the bloc pledged to provide a total of 3 billion euros to Turkey to help it deal with refugees, with a possible further 3 billion-euro provision in 2018. The 28-member bloc also agreed to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and Europe.

A number of rights groups expressed doubt whether Turkey was a safe and sufficiently convenient place for refugees.

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