European Council president Tusk to visit Turkey

European Council president Donald Tusk expected to visit Turkey to have separate meetings with PM Davutoglu and President Erdogan

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

European Council President Donald Tusk (L) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) attend the meeting on the Western Balkans migration route at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium on February 17, 2016.

European Council President Donald Tusk will meet with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week ahead of a summit on Turkey and EU cooperation over the refugee crisis, the European Council said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tusk will meet Davutoglu in Ankara on Thursday where he will also pay his respects to the 29 victims of the Feb. 17 terrorist attack. He is then expected to meet Erdogan separately in Istanbul on Friday.

The announcement of Tusk’s visit comes days before an EU summit which will be held on March 7 in Brussels.

Turkish PM Davutoglu is scheduled to meet with the EU's 28 leaders in Brussels to discuss the progress of last year's EU-Turkey deal aimed at cutting the flow of refugees.

Hosting more than 2.5 million refugees, the highest number in the world, Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion of its own resources to support them.

Turkey also has become a major transit country for refugees and migrants seeking to enter Europe via the Aegean.

Under a refugee action plan, the EU agreed to offer 3 billion euros to meet the needs of refugees hosted in Turkey, visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens and speeding up accession talks in exchange for the candidate country stemming the flow of refugees seeking to enter Europe via Greece.

TRTWorld and agencies