German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for an end to empty commitments on aid and said a compatible humanitarian system must be formed instead for the future. "Too many promises are made and then the money does not come for the projects – that must end," Merkel said on the opening day of the United Nations-backed World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) hosted by Turkey in Istanbul. She added that the world currently had no humanitarian system that was "compatible with the future."
She also called for a renewed global consensus regarding humanitarian principles, saying it is a "disaster" that leaders "need to talk about international humanitarian law being adhered to" in the face of schools and hospitals being bombed in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on Sunday, Merkel has said the refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union was primarily aimed at fairly sharing responsibility of the growing migrant crisis. "The recent deal between the EU and Turkey aims at sharing the migrant load fairly as well as protecting the external borders of the block," Merkel said.To a question on whether President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had disappointed Germany with regards to the refugee issue, Merkel replied: "No, I have known him for years … Turkey is a key partner for Germany." The chancellor also said she would have a chance to discuss the issue with Erdoğan at the WHS.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. The crisis saw more than 850,000 refugees cross from Turkey to the EU last year, prompting a deal for Ankara to accept returned migrants in a one-for-one exchange for Syrian refugees to be resettled in the EU. The agreement included EU pledges to donate 6 billion euros to aid refugees in Turkey, speed up the country's EU accession and introduce visa-free travel for Turkish nationals.
Around 2.7 million Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country are being sheltered in camps inside Turkey, with many others living in cities and elsewhere. The conflict in Syria has now driven more than 4 million people – a sixth of the country's population – to seek sanctuary in neighboring states, making it the largest refugee crisis in a quarter-century, according to the U.N.
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