Merkel may visit Turkey as Erdoğan calls for more Syria refugee aid

German Chancellor Angela Merkel may visit Turkey in the near future, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci said at the conclusion of talks in Berlin.

Merkel’s visit would be part of further high-level discussions that the two governments plan to normalise ties, Kaymakci said, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

“Relations between Turkey and Germany have been normalised, we can safely say this. But normalisation is not enough for us. We should further improve our ties,” Kaymakci said at the end of the two-day visit.

Both countries are working in good faith to improve relations, which would include concrete proposals to enhance cooperation in economy and trade, Kaymakci said.

Among critical topics was the dispersal of financial aid provided by the EU to Turkey to support refugees from Syria, which has failed to live up to pledges, the senior official said.

“Turkey has so far spent $40 billion for Syrian refugees,” he said. “Although the EU has pledged €6 billion for Syrian refugees in Turkey, so far it spent only €2.1 billion.

“We expect from the EU to increase its contribution, and speed up procedures for funding,” he said.

Merkel was the champion of a 2016 Turkey-EU agreement on refugees, designed to prevent the influx of millions of people to Europe from Syria.

At the weekend, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to allow millions of new migrants into the EU unless the bloc fulfilled its financial pledges.

Turkey says it hosts nearly 4 million Syrian migrants, more than any other country in the world. It says recent turmoil in Syria’s Idlib province, adjacent to the Turkish border, threatens the arrival of hundreds of thousands more.