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Merkel Heads To Turkey For Migrant Talks

A man swims next to a rubber boat as refugees and migrants arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on October 13.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is traveling to Istanbul for talks on the refugee crisis with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Merkel is looking to secure a European deal with Turkey on aid and closer ties in return for help in encouraging refugees there to stay put.

Merkel is facing pressure -- including from her own conservative allies -- to tighten Germany's border controls and turn away refugees. Germany is expecting 800,000 to 1 million new arrivals this year.

The EU's aid package includes at least 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to help Turkey host the more than 2 million refugees currently there.

The deal also promises quicker EU visas for Turkish citizens as well as speed up EU membership talks.

Amnesty International has criticized the plan, saying it does not take into account the difficulties migrants face in Turkey or the EU's obligation to offer them protection.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters