The President of the European Council Donald Tusk praised Saturday Turkey's treatment of refugees saying “it is the best example for the whole world”.
“Today Turkey is the best example for the whole world for how we should treat refugees,” Donald Tusk said during a joint press conference with Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission Vice-President in Gaziantep.
The European leaders arrived Saturday in Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey on the border with Syria, for the inauguration of the Turkey-EU Syrian Refugees Assistance Program.
“No one has a right to lecture Turkey on what it should do,” Tusk said. “I am really proud that you are my partner and I am absolutely sure that we will succeed… We have no other way!”
Tusk said that since the March agreement between the EU and Turkey “we have seen a sharp reduction of the illegal migration flow across the Aegean Sea”.
The president of the European Council said that beyond the cooperation on the migration crisis, Turkey and the EU had revitalized their relations and agreed on a roadmap the visa liberalization for Turkish citizens .
“The way I see It, Turkey has made good progress ahead of decisions to be taken this summer provided that Turkey meets all the agreed benchmarks,” Tusk said.
European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans thanked Turkish PM and Turkish people for their commitment to accommodate what he called “an enormous influx of refugees”.
“We as Europeans should state very clearly today here that you are not alone on this," he said. “Europe is committed to fulfilling the agreements we have reached,” he said, adding that the EU commission was in contact on a day-to-day basis with Turkish authorities to fulfill all elements of the agreement.
“By the end of July, I think we can reach the level of over 1 billion euros ($ 1.12 billion) of projects to ensure a better future for Syrians in Turkey,” Timmermans said.
Under an EU-Turkey deal to ease the refugee crisis facing Europe, EU leaders agreed to cut visa requirements for Turkish citizens and accelerate Turkey's EU membership bid.
The deal also provides a 6-billion-euro ($6.73 billion) aid package to help Ankara deal with the 2.7 millions of Syrian refugees it is hosting.
It also aims to "share the burden'' of the refugee crisis based on a formula of "for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states".
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