PM in Turkey to discuss handling of refugee flow

PM in Turkey to discuss handling  of refugee flow

Amid European pressure for closer Greek-Turkish cooperation to stem the tide of migrants, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras travels to Turkey Tuesday in a bid to press the country’s leaders to toughen their stance on smugglers.

Officials in Athens suggest that action in this respect is a precondition for reopening stalled chapters in Turkey’s EU membership negotiations.

Tsipras is scheduled to travel to Istanbul before visiting Ankara, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas. Reports said Tsipras will likely meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

Some analysts have questioned the timing of the visit as no government has been formed yet following elections in the neighboring country.

Greece has ruled out holding joint patrols in the Aegean Sea. Ankara also appears to have objections over certain European recommendations which, observers say, could facilitate understanding between the two sides.

The European Union will hold a special summit with Turkey to secure its cooperation on stemming migration flows on November 29.

Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process, according to United Nations figures.

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