.
.
.
.

Germany, Turkey eye lifting EU visa rules for Turks by October

Germany and Turkey agreed Friday to work towards easing EU visa requirements for Turkish nationals visiting the Schengen area by October

Published: Updated:

Germany and Turkey agreed Friday to work towards easing EU visa requirements for Turkish nationals visiting the Schengen area by October, according to a statement issued after talks between leaders of the two countries.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu “emphasized their commitment towards meaningfully advancing the negotiations between Turkey and the EU on visa liberalization with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens to the Schengen area by October 2016,” the statement said.

Earlier, top officials from Germany and Turkey said Europe’s migrant crisis is the main issue at a meeting in Berlin.

Germany saw an unprecedented 1.1 million asylum seekers arrive last year, many of them fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Facing growing domestic pressure, Merkel wants Turkey to help stop the flow of migrants from coming to Europe.

She has urged other European Union members to make good on their pledge of giving Turkey 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to improve conditions for almost 3 million refugees living there.

Davutoglu told German news agency dpa ahead of the meeting that even 3 billion euros may not be enough because nobody knows how long the crisis will last.