The European Crisis Response Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva is visiting Turkey in recognition of the country's growing role as an international humanitarian aid donor. She will discuss with the Turkish authorities the needs and opportunities for closer cooperation in responding to disasters and emergency management, as well as humanitarian problems triggered by various crises including those in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Sahel, Somalia and Sudan.
Commissioner Georgieva will hold meetings in Ankara with Beşir Atalay, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Egemen Bağış, the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief negotiator. She will meet humanitarian NGOs, the Red Crescent and UNHCR.
The Commissioner will also discuss the humanitarian consequences of the crisis inside Syria.
"Turkey has demonstrated by its humanitarian interventions that with growing prosperity comes growing responsibility," the Commissioner said. "This visit will give me the opportunity to explore how we can intensify our cooperation and learn from each other's experience in responding to disasters and how the EU, as the world's largest humanitarian donor, can support Turkey's role as a force for good. I am here because victims of disasters need both Turkey and the EU."
Tomorrow the Commissioner will visit Van province in Eastern Turkey, which was struck by a strong earthquake in October 2011. The European Commission coordinated the provision of European assistance to Turkey after the earthquake, in response to the authorities' request to the European Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU provided 6,570 winterized tents to shelter some 36,000 people made homeless by the quake and its aftershocks.
A €4 million grant agreement has been signed with the Turkish Red Crescent to make funding available through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) for pre-fabricated houses.