Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on Thursday evening that Ankara will start using its European Union funds to meet the needs of Syrian refugees on April 16 in the border province of Kilis. Davutoğlu made the announcement in his regular monthly address to the nation yesterday. Touching on the Turkey-EU refugee deal that came into effect on March 20 and opens a safe and legal route to the EU for Syrian refugees while reducing irregular migration, Davutoğlu reiterated that the EU agreed to mobilize an additional 3 billion euros for Ankara to spend up until the end of 2018 when the initially allocated 3 billion euros from the EU will be exhausted. "We will start implementing the first 3 billion euro package in Kilis on April 16," he said.
He also said that Turkish-EU relations will strengthen by opening Chapter 33 in Turkey's EU accession process concerning financial and budgetary provisions. "As you can see, we are trying to put Turkish-EU relations on a new axis while trying to heal and cure refugees," Davutoğlu said. According to sources from the Prime Ministry, Davutoğlu will attend the openings of projects for Syrian refugees such as new education and health centers as well as schools in the town. Sources also indicated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also expected to visit Kilis and will attend the opening ceremonies with Davutoğlu.
Kilis is a town with a population of 129,000 just a few miles from the Syrian border and is home to about 120,000 Syrian refugees.
Last month a Justice and Development Party (AK Party )deputy, Ayhan Sefer Üstün, filed an application to the Norwegian Nobel Committee to nominate Kilis for the Nobel Peace Prize, given that it is now home to as many Syrians as its native population.