Angela Merkel turkey visit Paton Walsh LKLV_00001009.jpg
Angela Merkel turkey visit Paton Walsh LKLV_00001009.jpg
Now playing
02:04
Angela Merkel visits refugee camp in Turkey
Photos from the Sarost 5, a ship currently stuck at sea with 40 migrants on board, including 2 pregnant women. According to the ship's second captain Amman Ourari, it has been refused entry by Malta, Italy, France and Tunisia. Photos are from the ship's second captain Amman Ourari.
PHOTO: Ayman Ourari
Photos from the Sarost 5, a ship currently stuck at sea with 40 migrants on board, including 2 pregnant women. According to the ship's second captain Amman Ourari, it has been refused entry by Malta, Italy, France and Tunisia. Photos are from the ship's second captain Amman Ourari.
Now playing
00:50
Migrant ship stranded for two weeks at sea
Rescue boat carrying migrants from off the coast of Libya.
PHOTO: Karpov/SOS Mediterranee/MSF/Twitter
Rescue boat carrying migrants from off the coast of Libya.
Now playing
02:31
The journey of a ship carrying 600 migrants
Now playing
03:57
Migrant returns home to brutal reality
A young boy wrapped in a blanket to protect him from the rain gestures as migrants and refugees protest to call for the opening of the borders near the village of Idomeni where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded on March 7, 2016. 
EU leaders held a summit with Turkey's prime minister on March 7 in order to back closing the Balkans migrant route and urge Ankara to accept deportations of large numbers of economic migrants from overstretched Greece. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI        (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A young boy wrapped in a blanket to protect him from the rain gestures as migrants and refugees protest to call for the opening of the borders near the village of Idomeni where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded on March 7, 2016. EU leaders held a summit with Turkey's prime minister on March 7 in order to back closing the Balkans migrant route and urge Ankara to accept deportations of large numbers of economic migrants from overstretched Greece. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:47
A year in the life of migrants
PHOTO: Portuguese Air Force
Now playing
00:43
Dramatic escape as migrant boat catches fire
PHOTO: MOAS
Now playing
00:49
Massive rescue effort in the Mediterranean
PHOTO: Jaime Moreno
Now playing
00:57
Migrant boat lands on Spanish beach
A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on November 12, 2015. The Swedish government on November 11, 2015 said it would temporarily reinstate border checks to deal with an unprecedented influx of migrants, making it the latest country in Europe's passport-free Schengen zone to tighten its borders over the crisis. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON +++ SWEDEN OUT +++        (Photo credit should read STIG-AKE JONSSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on November 12, 2015. The Swedish government on November 11, 2015 said it would temporarily reinstate border checks to deal with an unprecedented influx of migrants, making it the latest country in Europe's passport-free Schengen zone to tighten its borders over the crisis. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON +++ SWEDEN OUT +++ (Photo credit should read STIG-AKE JONSSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:10
Sweden's refugees by the numbers
Now playing
01:41
Migrants in Serbia: A grim life
heroic crews rescue refugees at sea orig_00000206.jpg
PHOTO: www.globaldirt.org/Global Dirt
heroic crews rescue refugees at sea orig_00000206.jpg
Now playing
03:29
Heroic crews rescue refugees lost at sea
A protester holds up a Turkish flag as others raise their hands during a demonstration in Taksim square in Istanbul on June 8, 2013. Thousands of angry Turks took to the streets on June 8 to join mass anti-government protests, defying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to end the worst civil unrest of his decade-long rule. Erdogan, meanwhile, was meeting in Istanbul with top officials of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to discuss the crisis, and a deputy prime minister was due to make a speech later on June 8. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Image
A protester holds up a Turkish flag as others raise their hands during a demonstration in Taksim square in Istanbul on June 8, 2013. Thousands of angry Turks took to the streets on June 8 to join mass anti-government protests, defying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to end the worst civil unrest of his decade-long rule. Erdogan, meanwhile, was meeting in Istanbul with top officials of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to discuss the crisis, and a deputy prime minister was due to make a speech later on June 8. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:09
Turkey: A country in turmoil
A photo released by the Italian coast guard shows babies born in a migrant rescue ship off the Sicilian coast.
PHOTO: Italian Coast Guard
A photo released by the Italian coast guard shows babies born in a migrant rescue ship off the Sicilian coast.
Now playing
00:50
Migrant mothers give birth on Italian rescue ship
Survivors from a boat that capsized, off Egypt's north coast, sit in a police station in Rashid in northern Egypt, on September 21, 2016.

A boat carrying up to 450 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean off Egypt's north coast on, drowning 42 people and prompting a search operation that rescued 163 passengers, officials said. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED        (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Survivors from a boat that capsized, off Egypt's north coast, sit in a police station in Rashid in northern Egypt, on September 21, 2016. A boat carrying up to 450 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean off Egypt's north coast on, drowning 42 people and prompting a search operation that rescued 163 passengers, officials said. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:02
Migrant boat capsizes near Egypt
In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf.
PHOTO: WSVN-TV/AP
In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf.
Now playing
00:46
Cubans who climbed lighthouse to be sent home
An Italian Navy ship spotted a boat with migrants off the Libyan coast and shortly after the migrant ship flipped for the precarious floating conditions given the hi number of migrants on board. Rescue operations are still ongoing also with the help of an helicopter and of a second Navy vessel. At the moment 500 people have been saved and seven are dead.
PHOTO: Italian Navy
An Italian Navy ship spotted a boat with migrants off the Libyan coast and shortly after the migrant ship flipped for the precarious floating conditions given the hi number of migrants on board. Rescue operations are still ongoing also with the help of an helicopter and of a second Navy vessel. At the moment 500 people have been saved and seven are dead.
Now playing
00:55
Ship flips, throws 500+ overboard
German Navy sailors surround a boat with more than 100 migrants near the German combat supply ship 'Frankfurt am Main' during EUNAVFOR Med, also known as Operation Sophia, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
PHOTO: Matthias Schrader/AP
German Navy sailors surround a boat with more than 100 migrants near the German combat supply ship 'Frankfurt am Main' during EUNAVFOR Med, also known as Operation Sophia, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Now playing
01:48
ISIS infiltrates the migrant route in Libya

Story highlights

Merkel: People who feel safe "do not need to leave their home country"

Merkel and other EU officials visit a refugee camp in Turkey

The trip comes a month after a controversial European Union migration plan

(CNN) —  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European Union officials visited a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border Saturday, one month after helping finalize a controversial EU plan to cope with the largest migration crisis since World War II.

Merkel’s visit to the Nizip camp – a sprawling complex where migrants are housed in tents and metal containers, about 30 miles east of the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep – is intended to counter opponents of the deal, which has been criticized by human rights groups.

A tweet from European Council President Donald Tusk included a photo of Merkel and others being greeted with flowers presented by young women in white dresses: “Visiting victims of Syria war at #Nizip refugee camp in Turkey.”

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu led the EU representatives on a tour of the camp, where they greeted children and inspected living conditions. They also inaugurated a child protection center in Gaziantep.

European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters the camp was evidence of the “commitment of the Turkish people to accommodate en enormous influx of refugees.”

“I think we, as Europeans, should state very clearly today that you are not alone in this,” he said.

Merkel spoke about Syria’s fragile ceasefire.

“Syrians tell me they wish to go back home and, of course, we wish to drive forward the peace process,” she said at a news conference.

“This shows our urgency. All parties need to be prepared for a compromise and everyone needs to be involved in talks.”

The refugee crisis and peace process are connected, Merkel said.

“People, of course, who feel safe, do not need to leave their home country,” she said.

Under the terms of the March 18 agreement between the EU and Turkey, migrants who cross into Greece illegally after March 20 are being sent back to Turkey.

For every Syrian sent back to Turkey under the plan, a vetted Syrian refugee will go from Turkey to Europe to be resettled, although the maximum number is capped at 72,000 people. In return, the EU will give Turkey billions in funding to help it provide for the migrants within its borders, and grant various political concessions.

More than 1 million people made “irregular arrivals” inside Europe’s borders in 2015 alone, many of them displaced by the Syrian civil war.

By comparison, about 2.7 million Syrian refugees are registered in Turkey.

A sign outside the camp visited by EU officials Saturday said, “Welcome to the world’s largest refugee hosting country.”

Human rights group criticizes deal

A report released by Amnesty International earlier this month condemned the EU agreement and accused Turkey of forcibly sending people back to Syria, constituting a violation of international law – a charge Turkey denies.

The report said it found many cases of large-scale returns from the Turkish province of Hatay, and called it an “open secret in the region.”

“In their desperation to seal their borders, EU leaders have willfully ignored the simplest of facts: Turkey is not a safe country for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe by the day,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia.

A statement from the Turkish foreign ministry said the Amnesty International report “does not reflect the truth.”

Turkey had been observing an “open door policy” for five years with regard to refugees, and complying with the principle of “no returns,” the ministry said.

Crowded, harsh conditions

About 15,000 people live in the camps at Nizip. Many more live in other camps in Turkey, as well as some on the Syrian side of the border, established as Turkey has tried to keep its refugee burden under control.

The Nizip camp is less than 20 miles from the Syrian border.

Turkey shares a 560-mile border with Syria and has borne the brunt of the exodus of Syrians since the civil war began there in March 2011.

Many Syrian refugees at the camps hope to move on. Speaking Arabic, not Turkish, they do not feel at home – and Turkey is not particularly welcoming to them.

Until now, Turkey has been happy to be merely a transit point for the migrants.

But now, under the new EU deal, the country has agreed to take back all virtually all irregular migrants from the Greek islands. The carrot offered in exchange is the prospect of visa-free travel for Turks to the European Union.

CNN’s Don Melvin, Gul Tuysyz and Marilia Brocchetto contributed to this report.