Merkel, EU officials in Turkey to discuss migrant deal

By Daniel Uria  |  April 23, 2016 at 1:13 PM
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NIZIP, Turkey, April 23 (UPI) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and officials from the EU traveled to Turkey Saturday to observe a refugee camp and discuss the terms of the migrate deal between the two governments.

Merkel was joined by European Council head Donald Tusk and European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans as they met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu near the border between Turkey and Syria.

The visit follows the first month of the deal between the EU and Turkey which deports migrants who do not obtain asylum in Greece to Turkey.

Merkel said that the goal of the trip is to see the living conditions of the migrants in Turkey although some rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, have criticized the visit claiming the officials chose to visit a "sanitized refugee camp."

The group was set to visit a migrant camp near Nizip to investigate the living conditions of the nearly 5,000 people there and then visit a child protection center.

Judith Sunderland, HRW's acting deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, said the group should visit camps on the other side of the border "to see the tens of thousands of war-weary Syrian refugees blocked" by Turkey from entering.

After their visit to the migrant camp the two sides will discuss aspects of the deal such as the more than 6 billion euros promised to Turkey to host the refugees and the offer of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.

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