10:34 GMT29 May 2020
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the European Union must fulfill its obligations under the refugee deal with Ankara reached in March, local media reported.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) – The statement was made during a phone conversation between Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Anadolu news agency reported, citing its sources.

    Erdogan also reportedly said that Turkey expected Germany to make more active steps aimed at counteracting the Kurdish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the so-called he Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO) accused of organizing a failed coup. Both organizations are designated in Turkey as terrorist ones.

    Ankara and Brussels agreed on a deal in March, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in 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 accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime, as well as provide financial aid to Turkey to cover the costs of migrant reception.

    Erdogan also discussed with Merkel humanitarian situation in Syrian northern city of Aleppo among other regional issues, the media reported.

    According to the Anadolu news agency, the two leaders emphasized the necessity to increase efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Aleppo, eastern districts of which are besieged by militants with thousands of civilians still trapped in the city.

    Erdogan and Merkel also discussed the Cyprus issue, Turkish-EU refugee deal and some other issues.

    The relations between the two countries have recently soured as Ankara is accusing Berlin of providing support to Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) militants, outlawed in Turkey, and followers of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, suspected by Ankara of masterminding the July coup attempt.

    Germany, on its part, is slamming Turkey over arrests of journalists and pro-Kurdish opposition politicians.


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