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Turkey urges EU to jointly tackle refugee crisis

September 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Turkey and the EU should adopt a common strategy to deal with the refugee crisis, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Addressing a joint press conference with European Council President Donald Tusk at the Prime Ministry in the capital Ankara today, Davutoglu said that the refugee crisis was not a Turkish issue but a global one.

Turkey remains ready to work with its European partners to address the on-going humanitarian crisis, he added.

He reiterated that Turkey is hosting nearly two million refugees. “We regard the refugees, coming from Iraq, Syria and other places, from a purely humanitarian perspective without discrimination of any kind with respect to race, religion and sect,” he said.

The UN refugee agency said recently that at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean this year and in 2016; adding that more than half of refugees who reached Europe this year were Syrians.

Davutoglu said Turkey conducted “very effective” air operations in northern Iraq yesterday and today.

The airstrikes follow the killing of 16 Turkish soldiers in an attack in Daglica on Sunday. On Tuesday, 13 police officers also were killed in a similar attack in the Igdir province.

European Council President Donald Tusk condemned the latest acts of terrorism in Turkey.

“We discussed terrorism where I reiterated my condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks here in Turkey…I assured the prime minister, as I did to the president yesterday, of Europe’s continued strong commitment to fighting terrorism, from PKK to Daesh,” Tusk said.

He discussed the terrorist threat from PKK and highlighted how important it was to get the “solution process” back on track.

Tusk also mentioned the refugee crisis, saying: “Solidarity and unity are our guiding principles. In combination with measures to contain the refugee flows and measures to get back the control of our borders from those profiting from desperation, the smugglers and traffickers of human beings, we can and will handle this crisis as well, just as the European Union has handled so many crises before – and often in cooperation with close partners like Turkey.”

He also hoped to strengthen the partnership between EU and Turkey.

“I have come to Ankara at this particular point in time not to lecture and not to be lectured. But to assess the situation together with you and identify areas where our cooperation can be further strengthened. The EU and Turkey are already doing a lot together, but we both agree that more will be needed, on both sides,” he said.