Europe migrant crisis: Germany and Egypt agree deal to stem migrant flow

Martin Schulz

Mrs Merkel said she has no regrets over her refugee policy, which saw Germany controversially open its doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees two years ago, despite the deep rifts the decision caused in her party.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants better ties with Turkey, but says it's a complicated issue.

Merkel said at her annual summer news conference ahead of a general election that steps had been taken in the wake of that decision to ensure that such an influx would not repeat itself.

Merkel, whose conservatives have a double-digit lead over the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in polls ahead of the September 24 elections, also ruled out a coalition with Germany's far-left Left party.

"I am working together with French President and also the help of the United Sates on finding solutions within the Normandy format, " Ms Merkel said.

"As much as I want good relations with Poland, our neighbour. we can not stay silent and say nothing just to keep the peace", she said. "We therefore chose to take a new direction in our policy towards Turkey".

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This centre would be in Egypt, a so-called transit country for refugees and economic migrants aiming to reach Europe.

The list of the arrested German citizens includes journalist Deniz Yucel, who is suspected in support of terrorist organizations and imprisoned under the charge of espionage on 15 February. Some 106,000 asylum seekers arrived in the first seven months of 2017, led by Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, according to German Interior Ministry figures. That compares with a 39-38 percent edge for Merkel in January, when Schulz's emergence as her main challenger gave the SPD a temporary poll boost.

The arrests have contributed to worsening relations between Berlin and Ankara, which have also been strained by other issues.

She says "we would like better relations, but that has something to do with the fulfillment of the principles of the rule of law".

She added, though, that this does not mean a political transformation in Syria is not needed. "I thought that Nazism was over in Germany, but it turns out that it is still going on", he said.

The commissioner, Aydan Ozoguz, has Turkish roots and had said that "a specifically German culture is, beyond the language, simply not identifiable". Merkel told members of her Christian Democratic Union at a previous rally in northern Germany that her government would "do everything in its power" to secure Yücel's release.