The 27 leaders of the European Union wrote to their Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Thursday to express their “full solidarity” and offer more emergency aid after a devastating earthquake, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We stand ready to further step up our support in close coordination with the Turkish authorities. Our thoughts will continue to be with you and your people,” they said.
The leaders sent their message at the start of their Brussels summit. Diplomats had said they would try to arrange a video call with Erdoğan, but it was not clear if this would be possible.
A strong earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria in the early hours of Monday, devastating cities and killing more than 17,000 people.
Many countries around the world, including EU members, have sent emergency teams and aid, and Europe is keen to do more, fearing a new wave of refugees from the region.
Thursday’s letter was addressed to Erdoğan but not to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whose autocratic regime is under international sanctions over atrocities in his country’s civil war.
Instead, the leaders said the EU stands “in full solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria in the face of this tragedy.”