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"The visit to Turkey … is a strong indication of the strategic importance of the EU-Turkey relationship and our desire to step up engagement in view of shared interests and common challenges" Mogherini said ahead of the visit. In Ankara they met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir. As a major emerging economy and a member of NATO and the G20, Turkey is a key partner for the European Union as an active regional foreign policy player, with a strategic location, including for the EU's energy security.
On their second day in the country, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Christos Stylianides visited Kilis refugee camp, close to the border between Turkey and Syria and also met NGOs and humanitarian aid workers. With growing numbers of refugees from Syria seeking sanctuary in Turkey, the European Commission is stepping up its assistance with an additional€10 million in humanitarian funding both inside Turkey and inside Syria via cross-border assistance from Turkey.
HR/VP Federica Mogherini stated: "Today, we are stepping up our assistance to the people of Syria and to the Turkish communities hosting Syrian refugees. Europe stands firmly with Turkey and is determined to play its role to the full to bring a lasting political solution to this regional crisis and humanitarian strategy".
Commissioner Stylianides further stressed the important role of Turkey in dealing with the crisis: "Let me express my deep appreciation for the immense efforts by Turkey and its people, who have shown their huge capacity for solidarity with the people of Syria in their greatest time of need," he said in Kilis.
The EU's humanitarian funding will help refugees living outside camps with cash assistance programmes, material assistance for newcomers and health care.