Leaders of Turkey, Germany, France, UK discuss Syria & migration crisis in videoconference

Turkish military vehicle drives on a joint patrol with US troops in the Syrian village of al Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town on the border with Turkey. — AFP  File

Leaders of Turkey, Germany, France, UK discuss Syria & migration crisis in videoconference

A TURKISH OFFICIAL, on the teleconference between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German, French and British leaders.

Mr Macron's office added that there was a convergence of views on the situation in Idlib and the need to step up humanitarian aid to civilians, during the conference.

"In this hard process that we pass through at the regional and global level, we will operate diplomacy and cooperation mechanisms more actively, and we will resolutely continue our efforts to resolve problems as soon as possible", he added.

Ankara's decision to unseal the border, which led to thousands of migrants attempting to make illegal crossings into Greece, has plunged relations with European Union leaders into turmoil.

Greece has used tear gas and water cannons against the refugees and migrants, and both countries have sent troops or security forces to the border. Greek authorities have accused Ankara of using busses and trains to ship large numbers of migrants to the border area.

The talks, which also included French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, were originally planned for Istanbul but were switched to a video call due to the coronavirus crisis. That was changed after the spread of coronavirus prompted all four countries to impose travel restrictions.

Leaders agreed to work jointly to combat the virus.

The Turkish leader has also accused the European Union of failing to honor the terms of the earlier refugee deal that sees Turkey paid to take back failed asylum-seekers from Europe.

The four leaders were to discuss updating the 2016 deal between the European Union and Turkey under which the bloc pledged €6 billion (S$9.4 billion) in aid to finance projects for Syrian refugees in Turkey. The leaders of Turkey, Germany, France, and Britain discussed issues, including the latest situation in Syria's northern province of Idlib and the COVID-19 outbreak, at a televised meeting on Tuesday.

Erdogan's move sought to pressure Brussels to help Turkey deal with a new humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Syria's Idlib province.

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