The European Commission on Feb. 7 signed a 400 million euro (430 million dollar) aid agreement to support Turkey’s recovery after the destructive Feb. 6 earthquakes of 2023.
The signature ceremony took place in the European Commission building in Belgium with Mehmet Kemal Bozay, aide to Turkey’s Foreign Minister and European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreria attending, reported the Anadolu Agency (AA).
Bozay spoke after both parties signed the agreement. “The acquired funds will be directed towards building hospitals and schools and restoring structures with cultural heritage status in the quake-afflicted region,” the deputy minister said.
Bozay stated that Turkey appreciated the EU’s initiative in organizing the International Donors' Conference on March 2023, one month after the earthquakes devastated Turkey and northwest Syria.
In the conference, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had assured to support Turkey with one billion euros allocated from the European Union Solidarity Fund. An additional 55 million euros would be allocated to drought-hit Romania and Italy, devastated by floods in 2022.
Ferreira gave the Commission’s condolences on the anniversary of the Feb. 6 earthquakes. She said, “We were all shocked by one of the most severe disasters that hit the region. Europe felt great sorrow for the lives lost and homes destroyed.”
The commissioner stated that Europe was in solidarity with Turkey, and had promised to provide assistance in the wake of the disaster. “This agreement constitutes a milestone of our promise,” she added.
She noted that the 400 million in aid to Turkey was the greatest amount the EU has provided to a non-member state. The commissioner added that the EU was ready to offer guidance and support to Turkey during the implementation period. “Damage was done in some nightmarish 65 seconds, but recovery will take years,” Ferreira concluded.