EU sides with Turkey over Idlib, envoy to Ankara says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

The European Union is working together with Turkey on Idlib, northwestern Syria, since it is the only way to deal with a humanitarian and political crisis for both sides, the EU's Ambassador to Ankara Christian Berger said.

In an interview published yesterday in Hürriyet daily, Berger said that both Turkey and the EU are facing the same challenges and have room for a lot of coordination between each other.

"I think, among things, it's also clear is that only together we can face some of these very difficult crisis situations in the southeastern border, in Syria and over the potential spillover of the refugee influx. All these important risks and challenges, we, both the EU and Turkey, face," Berger said, while adding that there will be EU member states meeting with Turkey and Russia to discuss the situation in the upcoming days.

"This will be another opportunity to send a very strong message about the situation. We will have, in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, a meeting with the EU foreign ministers on Syria and I am sure Idlib will be at the top of the agenda. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will also be there, so Turkey will have a very strong voice there," he said.

Stating that both EU and Turkey should be ready for a possible refugee influx from Syria, Berger expressed that the EU Commission will be ready to provide additional assistance.

"Our colleagues from the Brussels' humanitarian department are already in touch with our partners on the ground and we are monitoring the situation very carefully. So, if there will be a need for assistance, I am sure it will be mobilized," he said.

Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees - more than 3 million - from neighboring Syria. It has been hailed by the international community for its exemplary treatment of refugees. The country has spent some $30 billion for the refugees living in and outside the tent camps. As the crisis in Idlib escalates, the possibility of a new refugee flow to Turkey also increased. The U.N. announced on Wednesday that the violence in northwest Syria has already displaced more than 38,500 people in less than two weeks.

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