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UK Foreign Secretary says, 'Turkey plays a vital role for Europe'

ANKARA-Turkey plays a vital role for Europe, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday, referring to the country's hosting of millions of Syrian refugees.


Johnson met Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Omer Celik in the capital Ankara on Monday.


Speaking to journalists prior to their meeting, Johnson said he appreciated the generosity of the government and the Turkish people towards the refugees.


Earlier Monday, he visited a container city, which houses Syrian refugees in Turkey's southeastern Gaziantep province.


The British foreign secretary also praised the Turkish nation's stand for democracy against the defeated July 15 coup, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.


He said the people of Turkey had not allowed their democracy to be destroyed by the coup attempters.


Johnson also said that his country would continue supporting Turkey's EU bid, adding that Britain was leaving the EU, not Europe.


EU Minister Celik also underlined that the U.K.’s move to leave the EU was not synonymous with a departure from Europe.


“The U.K. has been a European power and will continue on this path. Turkey, even if it is not an EU member, is a European power historically and a European democracy. Following the July 15 coup attempt, Turkey proved with its nation that it has a first-class democracy.”


On Tuesday, Johnson is expected to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Photo: Abdülhamid Hosbas (AA)

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