Dialogue with Turkey on the refugee issue was completed with the 2016 Turkey-EU refugee deal and there are no other agreements to discuss, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German federal parliament, Bundestag, on Wednesday.
Merkel answered the questions of the opposition and coalition parties in a session at the Bundestag for the first time, in accordance with a new implementation of the country. During the session, the deputy leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD), Beatrix von Storch, asked if Merkel met with the then-prime minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte on March 7, 2016 at the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives in Brussels.
Storch also asked whether or not Merkel made a verbal deal with Turkey during this meeting, bringing between 150,000 and 200,000 refugees every year to Europe.
Responding to Storch, Merkel said that the meetings with Turkey on the refugee deal had ended, and the EU-Turkey refugee deal was signed in March 2016.
According to this agreement, Merkel said, Germany is ready to accept a limited number of Syrian refugees who come to the country through legal routes, in exchange for each Syrian refugee who tries to reach to Europe illegally through Aegean Sea being returned back to Turkey.
Emphasizing that there were no other agreements than this, Merkel said the meeting that Storch was referring to, had no other aims other than the same refugee deal with Turkey.
Turkey and the EU signed an agreement on March 18, 2016, to stem the influx of refugees to Europe. The deal aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean by taking stricter measures against human smugglers and improving the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. With the agreement, there has been a significant decrease in illegal migration from Turkey via the Aegean Sea. While an estimated 7,000 people tried to get to the EU from Turkey in October 2015, it decreased to 43 this January.
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