Merkel holds farewell meeting with Erdogan in Istanbul

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a farewell meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, just days ahead of her departure from the post after 16 years in office.

During their meeting at the Huber Presidential Mansion along the shores of the Bosphorus Strait, the two leaders on Saturday discussed ties between Turkey and Germany, Ankara’s membership bid to the European Union, irregular migration, and a series of regional issues, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Turkish leader said at a joint press conference with Merkel that racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and discrimination remain the main problem for the Turkish community in Europe, calling on European nations to take effective measures against all discriminatory treatments and racist attacks.

Erdogan expressed hope that the successful process carried out with the outgoing Chancellor would continue with the new German government in the upcoming period.

For her part, Merkel said that the EU’s support to Turkey on irregular migration would continue, noting “our peace and security are attached to the other”.

Turkey, a key transit point for asylum seekers on their way to Europe, hosts more than 4 million refugees, including 3.6 million Syrians, within its borders. The country has been lately witnessing an increased influx of Afghan refugees fleeing turmoil in their homeland.

Merkel will retire from politics after 16 years as Chancellor following the national elections held in September.

She has already made farewell visits to Israel, Italy, Belgium and Spain.