Donors pledge 7 billion euros to help rebuild Turkey from earthquake

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Donors at a European Union-led conference on Monday pledged 7 billion euros to help to rebuild Turkey after last month’s devastating earthquakes, while Ankara estimated the costs at more than ten times that.

The Feb. 6 earthquakes were the worst natural disaster to strike modern-day Turkey with more than 56,000 people killed in Turkey and neighbouring Syria. The European Union and member country Sweden on Monday hosted the conference to drum up support.

“The total pledges today amount to 7 billion euros,” said Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

He said the money would “help people whose lives were destroyed in a matter of seconds and minutes” and gives hope “that rebuilding dignity and everyday life will be possible.”

The EU has long accused Erdogan of human rights violations and the bloc’s ties with Turkey are strained over Ankara’s crackdown on dissent following a 2016 coup. More recently, Turkey has blocked a bid by Sweden to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

But the EU said it mobilised several million euros of immediate help and sent more than 1,500 rescuers to help in the hours and days following the earthquake in Turkey, which also hosts several million refugees from the war in Syria.

EU officials said the donor conference included some 400 international actors – countries, regional organisations and non-governmental groups. The allied Syrian and Russian authorities were not invited.