Turkcell and UNDP showcase lifesaving technology

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New York—Innovative mobile technology can help save lives when conflicts and disasters strike in emerging countries, according to experts at a high-level event held in New York today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations.

Recent disasters have demonstrated that the Government of Turkey and Turkcell –a leading communications and technology company in Turkey– are helping to lead the way in this important area.

“In countries prone to disaster or conflict, rapid information sharing about preventative measures can save lives and property,” UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said at the event, which showcased examples of how information technology –particularly mobile phones– has been used in the prevention, response and recovery from conflict and disasters around the world.

“Mobile technology enables citizens to connect to each other and authorities, spreading critical information in times of crisis,” she added.

At the panel discussion staged at UN headquarters, Ms Grynspan, Turkish Government representatives and other UN officials discussed disaster recovery measures and mobile communication continuity systems enacted by Turkish mobile phone company Turkcell in the aftermath of the devastating Van Province earthquake that struck eastern Turkey in October 2011.

At the event, Ms Grynspan also praised Turkcell for its role in the transmission of life-saving SOS messages in the wake of recent earthquakes in Turkey as well as its contribution to post-disaster recovery and fundraising.

“It is in times of disaster that corporations can – and must – activate their resources and innovative spirit to come to the aid of citizens,” Süreyya Ciliv, CEO of Turkcell, said. “Our experience in the Van earthquake proved once more that readiness, decisiveness and speed, when met with the power of mobile technologies can save lives.”

Turkcell says it helped send more than 10,000 text messages requesting emergency assistance during the quake. In addition, with support from Turkey’s Ministry of Education and in association with Turkish Education Foundation, Turkcell created the “Money-Box for Van” fundraising initiative that raised millions of dollars to rebuild quake-resistant housing for teachers and student dormitories.

“I believe that innovation is the transformation of an idea, product or process into social and economic benefit. With its transparent and accountable structure, Turkey’s Money Box is an innovative idea that has mobilized public support through technology,” added Mr Ciliv. “We hope not only to share our story, but inspire other companies to respond similarly, around the world.”

“In the aftermath of the Van earthquake, Turkcell facilitated ICT access enabling people to send SMS messages and request help to be rescued,” Ms Grynspan said. “There is no doubt that Turkcell’s actions –encouraged and enabled through public policy– saved people lives and livelihoods.”

“I am confident that today’s event will give us ample opportunity to learn from Turkey’s and UNDP’s experience,” Ms Grynspan added. “I also hope that these examples will give us food for thought about what can be replicated elsewhere in the world.”

The event, held at UN headquarters, featured His Excellency Ömer Dinçer, Former Minister of National Education of Turkey and Member of Parliament for Istanbul; Yaşar Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations; Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator; Emin Zararsız, Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Education of Turkey; and Atila Çelik, Director General of Communications, on behalf of Habip Soluk, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications of Turkey. The panel – moderated by Cihan Sultanoğlu, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS – included Jordan Ryan, Director, UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery; Süreyya Ciliv, CEO of Turkcell; and Yıldız Günay, General Manager of Turkish Education Foundation (TEV).

ABOUT TURKCELL: Turkcell is the leading communications and technology company in Turkey, with 35.1 millionsubscribers as of December 31, 2012. Turkcell is a leading regional player, with market leadership in five of the nine countries in which it operates with its approximately 69.2 million subscribers as of December 31, 2012. It has become one of the first among the global operators to have implemented HSPA+. It has achieved up to 43.2 Mbps speed using the Dual Carrier technology, and is continuously working to provide the latest technology to its customers, e.g. 84 Mbps in the near future. Turkcell Superonline, a wholly owned subsidiary of Turkcell, is the one and only telecom operator to offer households fiber broadband connection at speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in Turkey. As of December 31, 2012, Turkcell population coverage is at 99.17% in 2G and 84.02% in 3G. Turkcell reported a TRY10.5 billion (US$5.9 billion) revenue with total assets of TRY18.7 billion (US$10.5 billion) as of December 31, 2012. It has been listed on the NYSE and the ISE since July 2000, and is the only NYSE-listed company in Turkey. Read more at www.turkcell.com.tr.

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Contact Information
Davia Temin or Trang Mar, Temin and Company, at +1 212-588-8788 or news@temin.co
Vincenzo Pugliese, UNDP, at +1 212-906-5296, vincenzo.pugliese@undp.org