'Turkey stepped up when US cut aid to Palestine': UN

Head of agency helping Palestinians says 'encouraged by strong and collective mobilization' at New York meeting

'Turkey stepped up when US cut aid to Palestine': UN

The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has hailed Turkey’s "increased solidarity" to support the agency after the U.S. cut off funding.

“I very much value the leadership that Turkey is showing,” Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbühl told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of this week’s TRT World Forum in Istanbul.

“I think it is sending a strong message at the time when the UNWRA is under pressure because we lost money from the United States.”

In August, the Trump administration announced that Washington would no longer commit funding to the main UN program for Palestinian refugees.

The U.S. had been the agency's largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually -- roughly one-quarter of the agency's overall budget. 

Praising Turkey showing “strong solidarity” for the Palestinians, Krahenbühl said: “Every time I come to Turkey, there is a very strong feeling, very big concern about Palestinians and about Palestinian refugees, which is very important to me.”

“This year, because of the situation that we’ve faced, there was increased solidarity and increased political engagement to support UNRWA by the Turkish leadership.”