As part of President Erdoğan Visit to Qatar
February 18th, 2017 ― Doha: A high-profile delegation of the Turkish Red Crescent visited Qatar Red Crescent (QRCS) to hold meetings with QRCS top officials and sign a framework agreement for further humanitarian cooperation.
The Turkish delegation was in Doha as part of the visit of the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to deepen bilateral diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The Turkish Red Crescent delegation consisted of the organization's President, Dr. Kerem Kinik, and Vice-President, Dr. Naci Yorulmaz.
They were received by QRCS's President, Dr. Mohamed bin Ghanem Al-Ali Al-Maadheed, Secretary-General, Ali Hassan Al-Hammadi, Executive Director, Youssef Ahmed Al-Hammadi, and some heads of department.
The meeting shed light on bilateral humanitarian relations and the current humanitarian picture across the region, particularly in the war-torn Syria, which had over the past few years had missions of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs).
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to scale up cooperation for two years, building upon a previous one that enabled QRCS's presence in Turkey to secure relief aid into Syria, with logistical support from the Turkish side.
"Our partnership dates back to many years ago, but was formally documented only in 2009," said Dr. Al-Maadheed. "Under the new MoU, we will materialize cooperation in the form of larger-scale humanitarian operations for those in need".
He emphasized the common humanitarian grounds shared by both organizations, through their work in conflict zones around the world. This, he claimed, requires a higher level of coordination in the field to serve humanity.
"We work under the umbrella of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and we are best helped by the strong relations between Qatar and Turkey," Dr. al-Maadheed pointed out.
Dr. Kinik remarked, "We have been working with QRCS for many years in many regions, so we are very common in the same region and in the humanitarian sector as well, alleviating human suffering as we are taught by our religion. So, we are trying to provide fair humanitarian assistance for needy people everywhere, in Somalia, in Iraq, in Syria, in Myanmar, in West Africa like Qatar Red Crescent.
"QRCS is the strongest National Society in the moment, with a lot of international programs, offices, and staff allocated for international humanitarian operations, like us. We are jointly acting in a lot of crises like the Syrian crisis, the Somali crisis, and the Iraqi crisis. By this refreshment of the MoU, we would extend our strategic relationship globally, and we will act jointly and allocate more manpower and financial power to our joint programs. We will collaborate and cooperate according to this MoU globally.
Asked about the major needs in Syria for the rest of this year, he said, "We have two different programs globally, one for the Syrian refugees living in Turkey, who are 3 million, and the other program is for those inside Syria waiting for humanitarian assistance, around 6.5 million IDPs. So, we have two lateral approaches. In Turkey, we are providing cash donations for the Syrian people by our e-voucher cards. We also have amenity centers, health facilities, and psychosocial programs. Usually, many of the programs are implemented in Turkey, but the most important ones are for the society who are fragile inside Syria. We have cross-border activities and around 350 staff from the Turkish Red Crescent in Syria. Daily, we are sending 100-150 trucks into Syria. Till now, we have sent around 35,000 trucks. The first priority there is food. The second is protection shelter, as there are 400 camps and 700,000 people suffering in irregular and unmanaged camps. In other regions, 300,000 people are living in a lot of irregular camps. In the northern parts of Syria, around 2.5-3 million people depend on humanitarian assistance daily. So, we at the Turkish Red Crescent have sent 250,000 tons of flour into Syria, or 60-70 tons of flour daily.
"They need humanitarian support. They need shelter. We are preparing new IDP camps in Idlib and other regions. But they also need to restore their normal life. They need dignity. They need protection. Because of these, now we are talking with some housing institutions for preparing lands and infrastructure. Inshallah, for these future gaps, we will act with QRCS to design our common programs together.