Erdoğan inaugurates Turkish-built residences for earthquake victims in Albania
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jan. 17 paid a visit to Albania, where he attended a handover ceremony for residences built by Turkey for the earthquake victims in the northwestern town of Lac, which was shaken in November 2019.
Turkey had stepped up immediately when it received the report about the earthquake and mobilized the state’s potential to help “brothers” in Albania, Erdoğan said at the ceremony, stating, “We do not separate your peace and well-being from our own.”
Ankara also had initiated to provide support of international organizations to Albania, Erdoğan added.
Turkey being the first country to help the region after the earthquake is the “best evidence of strong solidarity” between the two countries, Erdoğan stated.
The housings are worth 42 million euros, he said.
“In this process, we, as Turkey, have fulfilled our promise to Albania and to you, even though we have been exposed to earthquakes, floods and fire disasters. Now I emphasize: We will continue to be with you at all times with the thought that brotherhood does not mean coming together only when called, but being there when needed,” he said.
Erdoğan was welcomed by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama with an official ceremony at Tirana International Airport.
The president was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum, Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu, and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.
Turkey-Albania relations at the strategic partnership level will be reviewed in all its dimensions and the steps that can be taken to deepen the cooperation will be discussed during the visit, a presidential statement said ahead of the visit.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in December 2020 for the construction of more than 500 residences by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) in the Albanian town of Lac.
The construction consists of 522 flats, 37 commercial sections and underground parking spaces.
Erdoğan is also expected to inaugurate the Ethem Bey Mosque renovated by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). The president is also set to deliver a speech at the Albanian Parliament.
Turkey was the first that deliver food packages and blankets to quake victims in the Albanian city of Durres following the 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which killed 20 people.
The 6.4-quake hit the Adriatic coastal city of Durres at 3:54 a.m. (0254GMT). The Albanian Health Ministry said at least 600 people were injured by the tremor. The quake’s epicenter was 15 kilometers (9 miles) off the coast of Durres, at a depth of 38 kilometers.