The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a €200 million loan on Tuesday to support Turkey’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s health sector in the context of the ongoing crisis.
“A €200 million Public sector Financing Facility loan aimed at supporting the Turkish health system to cope with the spread and consequences of Covid-19, to ensure the availability of medical services through the provision of the necessary medical treatment, material and equipment,” the CEB said in reference to Turkey in a statement.
The CEB is not the only European institution providing support to Turkey amid the COVID-19 crisis. Last month the European Union announced that it was procuring small-scale health infrastructure and equipment, worth €90 million, for Turkey’s fight against the pandemic under the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRiT).
On May 12 the CEB adopted by fast-track procedure eight new loans, including for Turkey, totaling close to €1.3 billion to its member countries for fighting the pandemic. The loans will be provided under the Public Sector Financing Facility (PPF), which offers flexible and timely use of CEB funds.
In addition to Turkey, a founding member of the bank, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova and Serbia will receive CEB loans.
Founded in 1956, the CEB is a multilateral development bank with an exclusively social mandate and 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and Southeastern European countries, forming the bank’s target countries, are listed among the member states. The bank grants loans to its member states and financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector.
In June 2018 the CEB signed a grant agreement with the Turkish government for the construction of a new state hospital in Kilis, a southern Turkish province bordering Syria, funded by the EU under FRiT. Kilis is home to the largest percentage of Syrian migrants in Turkey, and the population of the city has more than doubled in recent years, putting considerable strain on public services, including health services.
The construction of a second state hospital in Kilis is expected to increase healthcare capacity by at least 300 beds. Hospital construction will be managed by the Turkish Health Ministry, while the CEB will oversee project execution and provide support to the ministry.
FRiT was set up in 2015 in response to the European Council’s call for significant additional funding to support Syrian refugees in Turkey. It manages €6 billion to be mobilized in two equal tranches of €3 billion each.