EU official Georgieva welcomes Turkey’s help to Somalia.

Halkaan ka akhri

A senior EU official has said Turkey was big-hearted in its aid to several regions in the world, especially praising Turkey’s humanitarian aid initiatives in drought-stricken Somalia over the summer.

During a visit to the Turkish capital on Thursday, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva praised Turkey’s humanitarian aid to conflict-ridden countries including Afghanistan, where a long-standing war between terrorist groups and US forces has dominated the region since 2001.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) estimates last October, Turkey topped the list of countries that had provided aid to Somalia when looking at the amount of aid compared to the countries’ gross national income (GNI), Reuters reported on Jan. 26. During her meeting with EU chief negotiator Egemen Bağış, Georgieva suggested that Turkey be included in the Civil Protection Mechanism established by the EU to act in the event of natural disasters, in order to have Turkey work more closely with the EU in the field of humanitarian aid. The mechanism has 31 members, including the 27 EU member states. Macedonia will become a member soon.

The commissioner will accompany Bağış on a visit to Van province on Friday, which was hit by two successive earthquakes in October and November 2011. Bağış said the EU had proven its good intentions towards Turkey with its post-earthquake assistance. Temporary homes have been constructed in Van, made possible by a TL 10 million EU donation.

In similar remarks, Georgieva indicated that EU sees Turkey as a family member in mentioning the EU aid to Van. The EU-sponsored temporary homes provide shelter to more than 1,000 people in Van.

Bağış asserted that EU’s assistance in Van has opened a “solidarity chapter” between the EU and Turkey, in addition to negotiated chapters as a part of Turkey’s EU accession process. Additionally, Bağış expressed Turkey’s determination to continue with reforms for the prospective EU membership.

Following the meeting with Georgieva, Bağış arrived in İstanbul on Thursday for a meeting with European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle and Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız will also be in attendance.

After her meeting with Bağış, Georgieva was hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay for talks on Turkey-EU cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster management.

Speaking before a meeting he had organized for the governors from all of Turkey’s 81 provinces, Atalay stated that the responsibility for managing disasters rested with the governors.

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