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Germany Bears ‘Gifts’ for Turkey in Return for Refugee Crisis Control

turkey_visaGermany is turning to Turkey in efforts to overcome the mounting refugee crisis by offering its support to the country’s EU membership bid and easing visa controls for Turkish travelers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that Germany was willing to push ahead with visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish residents, bringing the process forward to July 2016.

Eager to ease the political pressure at home and despite reiterating her opposition to Turkey’s EU membership earlier this month, the German Chancellor said she was ready to lend Turkey support in its EU bid as long as it worked on regulating the flow of refugees and taking in those sent back by the EU, as foreseen by the so-called “readmission agreements”, which Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he will agree to only if there is progress on liberalizing the visa regime.

“Germany is ready to offer support,” Merkel said. “If we take the question of visa liberalization, we can talk in the German-Turkish working group… about specific possibilities to push through visa facilitation,” Reuters reported.

Visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens was set for 2017.

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