Erdoğan thanks Germany's Merkel for contribution to Turkey-EU ties

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed ways to enhance Turkey-Germany and Turkey-EU relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as he thanked her for her contribution to the positive atmosphere, Presidential Communications Directorate said Tuesday.

Highlighting that they have seen the positive repercussions of dialogue in Turkey-EU relations, Erdoğan said during a video conference that Merkel has personally played a significant role in the developments.

The president noted that the issues of visa liberalization, update of the Customs Union and opening new negotiation chapters need to be addressed as a whole under the scope of the update regarding the 2016 Turkey-EU migrant deal.

In March 2016, Ankara and Brussels signed an agreement to reduce the number of migrants taking the dangerous Aegean Sea route to Europe and to find a solution for the influx of migrants heading to EU countries. Despite significant developments controlling migration traffic, Turkey has frequently complained that the EU has not fully delivered on its commitments stated in the deal and criticized the international community for its indifference to the migrant crisis.

Since last year, when the renewed attacks on civilians by the Assad regime in northwestern Syria risked another wave of migration to Turkey, Ankara has also frequently expressed that as years have passed since the deal was made and conditions have since changed, a new road map to tackle the issue of irregular migration is now required. During Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Brussels earlier this year, he also said that Turkey and the EU voiced a consensus on the need to renew the March 18 migration deal.

He also told Merkel that they need to encourage Greece to maintain dialogue regarding tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.

Meanwhile, Merkel congratulated Erdoğan for the seventh ordinary congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).