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The Latest: Merkel, EU Leaders Visit Refugee Camp in Turkey

The Latest: Merkel, EU Leaders Visit Refugee Camp in Turkey

Saturday, 23 April 2016 12:10 PM

GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

Four refugee children in traditional Syrian dress were greeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials with flowers as they entered a refugee camp near Turkey's border with Syria.

The EU leaders are visiting the government-run camp that is home to some 5,000 Syrian refugees in the town of Nizip on Saturday as part of a trip aimed at promoting a migrant deal with Turkey.

Merkel, EU Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, are also scheduled to symbolically inaugurate an EU-funded child support center where Syrian children can play and are given psychological support.

The leaders posed for photos with the children and met with the camp's elected leaders before walking into the site where the refugees are housed in container homes.

A large banner mounted near the fence of the camp read in English and in Turkish: "Welcome to the world's largest refugee hosting country."

Turkey is home to an estimated 2.7 million Syrian refugees.

5:20 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top European Union officials have arrived near Turkey's border with Syria in a bid to bolster a troubled migration deal with Turkey as they face increasing pressure to reassess the agreement.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu greeted Merkel, EU Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans at the airport in the city of Gaziantep on Saturday.

Security was high and the delegation was seen leaving the tarmac on a bus with two sharp shooters standing on the roof.

The delegation is scheduled to visit a government-run refugee camp as well as an EU-funded child center where Syrian children can play and are given psychological support.

Human rights groups have criticized the trip to what they call a "sanitized" refugee camp. They say EU officials should look further at the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees they say have now been blocked from entering Turkey.

4:50 p.m.

Barack Obama says a recent deal between the European Union and Turkey takes a step toward fairer sharing of the job of housing refugees.

But the U.S. president was also stressing the need to uphold human rights.

Many have questioned the March 20 deal, which allows the deportation back to Turkey of migrants who don't qualify for asylum in Greece. German Chancellor Angela Merkel championed the accord.

In comments to German daily Bild published Saturday, Obama praised Merkel's "political and moral leadership" in acting on an obligation to help people fleeing horrific conditions.

He said that the EU-Turkey agreement "is a step toward a more equitable way of sharing this responsibility." Obama added: "As the agreement is implemented, it will be essential that migrants are treated properly and that human rights are upheld."

4:25 p.m.

More than 100 people have taken advantage of an unusually low tide to wade around a border fence that juts out into to the Mediterranean Sea to enter Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta.

The Red Cross says it attended those who made it into Ceuta and that six were taken to hospital to treat cuts and bruises.

Spanish police say they intercepted 119 migrants who had managed to walk around the border fence on Saturday.

Television footage transmitted on state broadcaster TVE's news bulletin showed police intercepting the migrants as they approached Ceuta's beach.

Thousands of migrants try to reach Spain each year either by attempting to enter the country's African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta or by making perilous sea crossings to the mainland.

10:45 a.m.

A human rights group says German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top European Union officials should rethink the EU's refugee deal with Turkey, as they travel to the Syrian border to promote the troubled agreement.

Saturday's trip to the Turkish border city of Gaziantep, including a refugee camp, comes amid questions over the legality of the March 20 EU-Turkey deal to deport migrants who do not qualify for asylum in Greece back to Turkey.

Human Right Watch acting director Judith Sunderland says instead of touring a "sanitized" refugee camp, the EU leaders should focus on the tens of thousands of Syrians blocked at the border. She also urged them to visit a detention center for migrants "abusively deported from Greece."

Sunderland says "that should make them rethink the flawed EU-Turkey deal."

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The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):6:20 p.m.Four refugee children in traditional Syrian dress were greeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials with flowers as they entered a refugee camp near Turkey's border with Syria.The EU leaders...
EU,Europe,Migrants,The Latest
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2016-10-23
Saturday, 23 April 2016 12:10 PM
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