Refugees ‘huge challenge’ for Turkey, says EU official

An EU official on Thursday said that hosting more than 3.6 million refugees, is a huge challenge for Turkey.

Addressing the 11th Ambassadors' Conference in capital Ankara, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, praised Turkey for fulfilling its humanitarian endeavor.

"I would like to commend Turkey for hosting more than 3.6 million refugees. I know this is a huge challenge for your country," he said.

Avramopoulos, a former Greek politician of the conservative New Democracy Party, assured that the EU will continue standing behind Turkey to manage the challenge.

"Turkey as a candidate country for the EU membership, is an indispensable partner and will always be a strategically important neighbor for the European Union," he said.

He said that the EU and Turkey are bonded by an inevitable geography, which is further strengthened by addressing mutual interests.

Avramopoulos said a close cooperation was necessary, as he knew that Turkey will continue to face heavy migratory challenges.

On terrorism, the EU official said, it is a threat that does not stop at any national borders and does not have one single face.

"Turkey and its citizens have also been hit several times, in the course of only a few years," he said.

Also talking on Turkish- Greek relations, Avramopoulos, said he always strived to create conditions for mutual understanding and trust between Greece and Turkey. He said he had always favored the Greek-Turkish rapprochement.

Avramopoulos maintained that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the newly elected Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis are both "strong" politicians.

"They have the power to take bold decisions and achieve a breakthrough, to lead our countries into a new era of friendship, good neighborly relations and share a common vision for our great countries," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency