TUNIS/ANKARA: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday Tunisia had agreed to take back 1,500 rejected Tunisian migrants from Germany, after an attack by a Tunisian on a Christmas market in Berlin which killed 12 people.
Merkel had told Tunisia she wanted to speed up repatriation of failed asylum-seekers after IS supporter Anis Amri drove a truck through the market in December.
Amri had been denied asylum six months earlier. Merkel has come under heavy pressure for policies that allowed a million refugees into Germany in two years.
“We have agreed with Tunisia to send back 1,500 Tunisians in Germany who have been refused (permission) to stay in Germany,” Merkel said at a news conference with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis.
“Those who want to return voluntarily will be able to receive aid.”
Essebsi said Tunisia would send a delegation to verify the identities of those returning. German authorities have detained another Tunisian man they suspect of involvement in the truck attack.
Merkel also said the German government would provide Tunisia with 250 million euros in aid for development projects.
Turkey blames Germany
Turkey on Friday accused Germany of scandalous behaviour in cancelling rallies of Turkish citizens in two German towns due to be addressed by Turkish ministers and said Berlin provided a “shelter” for people committing crimes against his country.
The comments by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, who had been scheduled to address a meeting in the southwestern town of Gaggenau until it was cancelled on Thursday, reflected a broader souring of relations between the two Nato allies.
“Let them look back at their history,” Bozdag said in a speech suggesting a deeper rooted chauvinism in Berlin. “We see the old illnesses flaring up.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in Tunis, pushed back, saying Berlin had no part in steps taken by city councils who, according to one mayor, acted purely on security grounds.
She renewed her criticism of Turkey’s treatment of journalists after Ankara’s arrest of Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for the prominent Die Welt newspaper, and said Berlin would not be silenced. — Reuters