Merkel visits refugee camp in Turkey to promote migrant deal

Istanbul: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European Union officials visited a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border on Saturday, one month after helping finalize a controversial EU plan to cope with the largest migration crisis since World War II.

Merkel’s visit to the Nizip camp — a sprawling complex where migrants are housed in tents and metal containers, about 30 miles east of the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep — is intended to counter opponents of the deal, which has been criticized by human rights groups, CNN reported.

A tweet from European Council President Donald Tusk included a photo of Merkel and others being greeted with flowers presented by young women in white dresses: “Visiting victims of Syria war at #Nizip refugee camp in Turkey.”

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu led the EU representatives on a tour of the camp, where they greeted children and inspected living conditions. They also inaugurated a child protection center in Gaziantep.

European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters the camp was evidence of the “commitment of the Turkish people to accommodate en enormous influx of refugees.”

“I think we, as Europeans, should state very clearly today that you are not alone in this,” he said.