11:50 GMT +321 January 2018
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    A mosque's minarets are seen in Istanbul.

    Turkish PM: We're 'Not a Concentration Camp' for EU's Unwanted Refugees‏

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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1816)
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    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has hit back at German Chancellor saying the country is "not a concentration camp" for migrants a day after Angela Merkel visited Turkey to discuss the refugee crisis facing Europe.

    EU leaders have agreed to give US$3.4 billion in aid to the Turkish government to help with a humanitarian approach to handing the two million refugees in the country.

    During a visit to Ankara, Angela Merkel said Germany was ready to open discussions on Turkey's potential membership of the EU and promised to lift visa restrictions in return for helping contain Syrian refugees and persuade them to remain in Turkey.

    Having previously announced delight at the prospect of becoming "in the family photo of the EU one day", Davutoglu told Turkish media a day after his meeting with Merkel:

    "We cannot accept an understanding like 'give us the money they stay in Turkey,' " Davutoglu said.

    "I told this to Merkel, too. No one can accept Turkey becoming a country like a concentration camp where all refugees live."

    Brussels has offered the money and promised to lift visa restrictions for people traveling to the European Schengen zone as a sweetener in return for Turkey tightening its borders. 

    But Davutoglu is insisting that the European Union would have to stick to its side of the deal, loosen the visa restrictions and have the money ready before Turkey can honor their part.

    "In the past, the EU got what it wanted, but didn't keep its promises. The visa liberalization has to take force."

    Mrs Merkel has faced criticism from some European MPs for pushing a quid-pro-quo refugee for membership deal with Turkey, a country that has been blocked from becoming an EU member by Germany and France for over a decade.

    Turkey's main opposition leader, head of the Republican People's Party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has accused Merkel's deal of being a "bribe".

    "Two million Syrians have come to Turkey. They have proceeded to the West in order to find a better living standard. Here is what Merkel says: 'Let Syrians stay in Turkey. We will give you money if you keep them there.' That's to say, she is openly offering a bribe to Turkey. We definitely disapprove of it.

    "Turkey is not and should not be a country where concentration camps of foreigners are built," Kilicdaroglu told the Hurriyet Daily News.

    And while Merkel reaches out to Turkey for a solution to the refugee crisis — agreeing to lift visa restrictions and allow freedom of movement between countries within the Schengen zone — Hungary has erected unofficial razor wire reinforcement with neighbouring countries, blocking its borders, preventing refugee movement and isolating itself from the rest of the EU.  

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1816)

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    Tags:
    refugee crisis, Schengen area, camp, EU membership, refugees, visa-free regime, Syrian crisis, European Union, Angela Merkel, Ahmet Davutoglu, Germany, Europe, Turkey
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