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Turkish FM says EU must accelerate promised aid to refugees

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The European Union must accelerate the delivery of promised humanitarian aid for some 3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a joint news conference with EU officials on Friday.

He said a concrete roadmap needed to be agreed for a visa liberation deal with the bloc. The EU has pledged 3 billion euros in support for Syrian migrants in return for Ankara’s help in curbing the number of people embarking from Turkey for Europe.

The EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn were in Ankara on Friday, their first visit since a failed military coup attempt in July.

There were tense moments during the joint news conference between EU officials and Çavuşoğlu and Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik.

Hahn said Turkey, as a candidate country, must comply with European values such as the rule of law.

Turkey has been receiving criticism for severe human rights violations, arbitrary detentions and firings on coup charges following the July 15 coup attempt.

Çavuşoğlu in return chided Hahn and Mogherini over failures of the EU in solving problems across the board.

EU Minister Çelik also joined the heated discussion during the televised news conference, accusing some EU member states of racism and Islamophobia.

It has recently become normal for Turkish government officials to slam visiting foreign officials in public.

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