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Berlin, Ankara seek NATO aid to stop traffickers: Merkel

Update: February, 09/2016 - 09:28
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hold a joint press conference in Ankara on Sunday. AFP Photo

ANKARA —Turkey and Germany will ask NATO to help police the Turkish coast and stop traffickers from sending migrants on dangerous sea journeys, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.

"We will use the NATO defence ministers' meeting (from Wednesday) to talk about the situation in Syria as well as whether and to what extent NATO can help in monitoring the situation at sea and lend support to (the EU's border agency) Frontex and Turkish coastguards," she said after talks in Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Merkel said German and Turkish police would also step up cooperation in halting illegal migration and cracking down on human smugglers.

About 360 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean in January alone, according to the International Organisation for Migration, and the EU views Turkey's aid as crucial in stopping would-be asylum seekers from embarking on the sea journeys.

 Ankara struck a deal with the EU in November to stem the migrant influx into Europe, in return for three billion euros ($3.2 billion) in financial assistance to Turkey. — AFP



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