PM Davutoğlu in Brussels to discuss ties with EU leaders

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu left for Brussels late on Wednesday for a meeting with a group of EU like-minded countries that will be held on Thursday. The group includes Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg and Greece. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will also be present at the meeting. It has been reported that migrants will top the agenda of the meeting along with discussions on EU member states accepting refugees. Together with the ongoing refugee crisis, civil war in Syria, combating terrorism and the issue of foreign fighters are other topics the leaders will address. Commenting on the upcoming meeting, EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır on Wednesday said: "Turkey cannot guarantee ending the refugee influx to Europe. Here, the key topic will be whether the crisis in Syria will end or not."

Speaking exclusively to Daily Sabah, the head of the EU delegation to Turkey, Hansjörg Haber, said the EU meeting in Brussels will address more than one topic as it is hard to speak of stages. "You can hardly speak of stages, because everything will have to be met at once. We have the visa dialogue, we have the road map to work on and we have the additional money that will come in on Jan. 1 that we have to find ways to spend." Adding to Haber's statements, Bozkır also confirmed that Ankara is negotiating with the EU on how to spend the money, and added: "We want to decide on our own where to spend it. Talks are underway about that."

Praising Turkey's efforts with the refugee crisis, Haber said: "We believe that we are in this together with Turkey and we want it to succeed as well as we can. We will have to contribute to education, which is very important for Syrians. We will also need to contribute to food aid as well, thus contributing to all services in refugee camps that are provided here in Turkey."

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