German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday praised Turkey for hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees as part of an agreement with the European Union and said she wanted close relations with Ankara but did not anticipate Turkish membership of the EU.
“Turkey is doing an outstanding job of taking care of Syrian refugees,” she told a news conference. “I would like this agreement (on migrants and refugees) with Turkey to continue, this is the best for the people.”
Merkel also said the most recent disagreement between Turkey and Greece over Cyprus had made the relationship more difficult and patience was required to settle differences.
“This has been a setback but we should not be discouraged,” she told reporters when asked about the talks.
Turkey and EU member state Greece are at loggerheads over a range of issues including the divided island of Cyprus.
Photo: A file picture shows the Turkish national flag flying close to the European Union flag in Istanbul, Turkey. EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU