Erdogan, Merkel hold video conference over pandemic, regional issues

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a video conference on Friday over the COVID-19 pandemic and regional issues, Turkey’s Directorate of Communications said.

Erdogan told Merkel that Turkey continues its vaccination program against the coronavirus at a rapid pace, and a gradual and controlled normalization process has already started, the directorate said in a statement.

“President Erdogan stated that barrier-free and safe tourism would resume in April following positive developments,” the statement noted.

Turkey launched its vaccination program in mid-January with China’s Sinovac vaccine and a gradual normalization process at the beginning of this week.

The two leaders also addressed the latest developments in the region, according to the statement.

Erdogan urged the European Union to provide financial and technical support for Syrians who want to voluntarily leave Turkey to return home, it said.

Turkey is home to over 3.6 million Syrian refugees.