The European Union Commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement, Oliver Varheyli, signed a 781-million-euros package for refugees in Turkey during his visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara.
“[Turkish] Minister Mahinur Ozdemir signed a €781m agreement to continue to support the most vulnerable refugees. EU committed to continue with its support and assistance, in solidarity with Turkey,” Varheyli said on Wednesday.
The financial package is the biggest EU contract ever signed, Varheyli announced.
According to the latest data shared by Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, nearly 5 million refugees and migrants live in Turkey, but experts and the opposition say the number is likely higher. The anti-migration Victory Party claims that more than 13 million refugees are currently in Turkey.
As the refugee crisis grows, the EU’s financial support has become more important.
“Turkey hosts the world’s largest refugee community. Social protection is important for people’s access to services, it impacts their life positively, and contributes to community stability,” Henrike Trautmann, Acting Director for the Southern Neighbourhood and Turkey at the European Commission, wrote on X.
The deal was signed following a series of meetings of the EU delegation with Turkish ministers.
Varheyli met Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Trade Minister Omer Bolat, Family and Social Services Minister Mahinur Ozdemir Goktas, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar and Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir.
In addition to the refugee crisis, the EU delegation discussed visa liberalisation, investments and trade relations with Turkish counterparts.
“The EU [is] to provide more than 300 million euros in guaranteed financing through the EU-Turkey Investment Platform, mobilising at least 2 billion euros in new public and private investments,” Varheyli wrote on X, pledging to support Turkey’s embattled economy.
The visit and agreements concluded in a positive environment and both Varheyli and Foreign Minister Fidan pledged to cooperate in several areas.
Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s surprising victory in May elections, some experts have predicted that relations between the West and Turkey will improve, as now it is clear that Erdogan will remain in post for the forseeable future.
Source : BalkanInsight