US-made F-16 fighter jets in action..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Turkey and Germany will intensify their military efforts in against the Islamic State.
"A solution of the military conflict in Syria is the most hopeful message that we can have, especially in light of the migrant crisis. And therefore, we work politically, but we are also united in the coalition against Daesh and fight together," she said at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after the first German-Turkish government consultations in Berlin.
The German chancellor continued that Germany will make sure that Turkey received scheduled aid by the European Union to cope with the migrant crisis.
"From the European side we will place the 3 billion at (Turkey's) disposal - I assured that today again - in order to carry out projects for migrants and the improvement of their living conditions," Merkel said.
The issue of illegal immigration was addressed by both the German chancellor and the Turkish prime minister. Both emphasized that Turkey has already addressed that issue:
"Turkey has already taking first steps," Merkel said. "And we will continue to work very intensely until February 18th (European Council) to support Turkey - as our interior minister have agreed upon - where support is necessary. FRONTEX (EU border agency) can also work together with Turkey. We will work together intensely."
Before diving into the pressing issue of dealing with the migrant crisis, Davutoglu reached out to his host and said in German that he and his country deeply mourned the attacks on Germans in Istanbul.
"We were deeply moved by the terror attack in Istanbul," Davutoglu said in German. "Unfortunately, we lost German friends in this attack. They were our guests. And now they are our friends forever. We still mourn with the families of the victims."
He then addressed the pressing issues and said the peace talks aimed at ending the war in Syria next week will be a key element in stemming the flow of refugees to Europe.
"We hope that the upcoming peace talks in Syria so that the refugee crisis, the flow of refugee will diminish, and they will be integrated as best as possible. So it won't become a human tragedy."
Germany and Turkey are in full cooperation against militant groups including Islamic State and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Davutoglu also said at a news conference with Merkel, and added that Turkey is doing its best to stem illegal migration to Europe but will keep its "open-door" policy for refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.
"The refugee issue has created a new situation," he said. "We also have now the problem of Syrian refugees coming from third countries. Because those coming directly into Turkey are those who want to save their lives. And we have an open-door policy for them which will continue."
Asked about Austria's decision to cap the number of refugees and tighten border controls Merkel said that unilateral measures by European Union member states would not solve the refugee crisis, which requires a joint effort.
"I am deeply convinced that the issue of illegal migration can only be solved with cooperation, if we work on the causes of migration, and that we have a great interest within the European Union to preserve the Schengen zone. And means that unilateral decisions by individual (EU) countries will bring us any further but we need a pan-European solution."