Cooperation high on the agenda during Secretary General’s visit to Ankara

Published: 16 July 2015 15:41 CET

By Javier Ormeno and Andreea Anca, IFRC

The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, visited Turkey on 15-16 June to discuss new ways of increasing cooperation and coordination with the Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) and the Government of Turkey.

“As the member of the IFRC Governing Board, Kizilay (as TRCS is known) is interested in increasing its cooperation with the Federation in order to deliver assistance to those in need, in an effective and coordinated manner,” said TRCS President, Ahmet Lutfi Akar during his meeting with Sy. “We are interested in making our Federation stronger, where each member could equally contribute and benefit from our membership,” he said.

In meetings with Red Crescent leadership, staff and volunteers, Sy expressed his appreciation for the crucial work of the TRCS, including in its response to the regional consequences of the conflict in Syria, a crisis that has seen almost 4 million Syrians flee their country, including 1.7 million who have sought refuge in Turkey.

The visit of the Secretary General coincided with the arrival of thousands of people from Syria, who poured across the border into the southern Turkish town of Akcakale.

The Secretary General also praised the Red Crescent’s international work, highlighting their response to emergencies in countries such as Iraq, Somalia and, most recently, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal. He visited the TRCS operations centre where the work of the National Society is planned and coordinated, as well as some of the Red Crescent’s logistical facilities.

Strengthening partnership

During his visit, Sy also met senior government officials to discuss possible areas of cooperation, and the World Humanitarian Summit, which will be held in Turkey in 2016.

Discussions also explored opportunities for increased cooperation and coordination between the IFRC – as one of the main global humanitarian actors – and Turkey, with the Turkish government playing an increasingly active role in international humanitarian assistance, including as a donor.

“The international humanitarian activities of TRCS, could be a good entry point for furthering our joint cooperation in favour of vulnerable people," said the IFRC Secretary General during his meeting with Dr. Serdar Çam, the President of TİKA (Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency).

Sy had the opportunity to learn about the national and international capacities of TRCS when visiting its operational centre and the Ankara branch. The centre is a main provider of services and resources in emergency operations and includes the disaster response and coordination centre, a tent factory and blood service centre.