Ratas on working visit to Turkey

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas is on a two-day working visit to Turkey, where he will visit the International Organization for Migration (IOM) suboffice and a refugee camp in Gaziantep on Tuesday before heading to Ankara, where he will meet with Turkish state leaders on Wedneday.

While in Gaziantep, located near the Syrian border, on Tuesday, Ratas will visit the city's IOM suboffice and a refugee camp in Nizip and meet with Gaziantep mayor Fatma Şahini, according to a government press release.

On Tuesday evening, the Estonian prime minister will travel on to the Turkish capital of Ankara, where on Wednesday he is scheduled to meet with Turkish state leaders, including Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

At meetings in both Gaziatep and Ankara, topics of key importance to the EU and Turkey will be discussed, such as migration and refugees' situations, security and the fight against terrorism as well as bilateral Estonian-Turkish relations.

In spring 2016, the EU and Turkey signed an agreement which in large part stemmed the flow of illegal refugees into Europe via Turkey. There are currently over three million refugees currently residing in Turkey, the majority of whom are from the neighboring Syria. The EU is providing Turkey with €3 million in aid over two years for the assistance of refugees there; Estonia's contribution to this funding is €2.8 million.

The EU and its member states are also cooperating with Turkey in all ventures involved in improving the humanitarian situation in Syria.

The prime minister is scheduled to return to Estonia on Wednesday evening.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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