|1. Health and Care||
|2. Disaster Management||
|3. Organizational Development||
|4. Federation Coordination||
Turkey is a large country with a population of 69.7 million. Its strategic geographic location between Europe, the Middle East and Asia makes the country an important economic gateway for the region. In February 2001, Turkey experienced a severe economic and financial crisis. A sharp decrease in the country's commercial and industrial infrastructure deeply affected the population as well as the entire economy. A World Bank report on effects of the economic crisis stated that nearly 2.3 million people (10.6 per cent of total employment rate) were left without jobs.
Although the business sector adapted to the changed environment quite rapidly, the situation remains serious especially since the crisis was preceded with two devastating earthquakes in 1999 that not only caused human deaths but also economic damage estimated at around US$ 20 billion.
Earthquakes in Turkey occur very often due to the country's location in a seismically active zone. Small tremors are felt every month causing fear and concern among people. The psychological impact of the two major earthquakes of 1999 is felt even now. With the new research technologies and devices introduced to Turkey, predictions made by seismologists and media about a possibility of a massive earthquake in Istanbul anytime within the next 30 years cause panic and increase psychological problems among the population.
Human Development Indicators at a glance:
|Human development index (HDI) rank, 2000||
|Life expectancy at birth (years), 2000||
|Adult literacy rate (% age 15 and above), 2000||
|GDP per capita (PPP$), 2000||
|Life expectancy index, 2000||
|Education index, 2000||
(Source: UNDP HDR 2002)
The Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) acts as an auxiliary to the Government of Turkey in the humanitarian field and provides a range of services including disaster relief, health and social care. The TRCS is the main organization in Turkey providing assistance during disasters.
The TRCS is basically a financially independent organization due to its revenue generating scheme. The national society does not receive any subsidies from the government, enjoying, however, some financial advantages established by law.
The TRCS is a member of the Balkan Conference, the Mediterranean Conference and the Black Sea Conference. The national society contributes in cash and kind to various relief operations throughout the world. The most recent international operations included assistance to disaster victims in Congo, Tajikistan, Syria, Iran, Georgia, Palestine and other countries.
The Federation has a long history of providing disaster relief support to the TRCS through the assistance programmes in the country. The Federation opened its delegation in Turkey a decade ago, in 1991, to assist the TRCS in providing support to refugees from Iraq.
As the emergency relief phase of the two devastating earthquakes of 1999 was over, the Federation in collaboration with the TRCS pursued various rehabilitation, reconstruction and disaster management programmes. Disaster management (DM) was identified as a priority area for assistance to the TRCS and considerable efforts are made by the Federation and national societies active in Turkey in this direction. During these efforts, it became evident that, within the framework of the restructuring process of the TRCS, support in the area of organizational development (OD) had to be intensified. Consequently, the organizational development and disaster management support have become closely inter-linked and well received by the TRCS.
The TRCS and the government have welcomed the Federation's efforts in enhancing the capacity of the national society.
National Society Priorities
The TRCS has been undergoing a restructuring process since 2000. It developed new mission and vision statements and underlined priority areas to be reflected in the Strategic Plan 2003-2005 which is currently being elaborated with the support of the organizational development programme of the Federation.
These strategic areas are:
- disaster management;
- health and social services;
- branch development;
- volunteering system development; and
- media and public relations.
After the lessons learned and the experience gained, the TRCS focused on increasing awareness about disaster response and mitigation throughout the country. Turkey, due to its particular location, needs a strong national society with a well-developed disaster management system to ensure rapid response and efficient coordination at the time of emergencies, particularly as the TRCS is the major player in this field. Upgrading the disaster preparedness and response capacity of the TRCS was one of the key components of the disaster management programme of the Federation.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Priorities
After the devastating earthquake of 1999, several national societies opened their delegations in Turkey and initiated projects to mitigate the effects of the disaster. All the bilateral programmes mainly focused on supporting the capacities of the TRCS in disaster management.
Currently, there are four participating national societies (PNSs) active in Turkey:
- The American Red Cross (ARC) focuses on branch support through pilot projects in Istanbul and Izmir to develop local community service delivery. The disaster management initiative of the ARC will enhance the disaster preparedness of the TRCS as well as develop logistics, telecommunications and monitoring and evaluation components of the disaster management system and the disaster information centre. The ARC provides funding and assistance to the first aid project and supports the development of the national society's communications, marketing and public relations systems and resources.
- The British Red Cross Society (BRCS) continues to cooperate with the TRCS through the Erzurum disaster preparedness and logistics development project that envisages stock replenishment of the Erzurum regional warehouse as well as its repair and refurbishment. The BRCS supports the automation of the Eruzurum branch and warehouse by providing computer and Internet facilities and by training staff and volunteers.
- The German Red Cross (GRC) is undertaking four bilateral projects in Turkey. The GRC supports training workshops at the Yeniköy Health and Training Centre and provides assistance to the TRCS blood transfusion centre in Istanbul. The GRC is in the process of finalizing the construction of two buildings for the TRCS Golcuk and Duzce branch offices and supports the TRCS branches through twinning initiatives with branches of the GRC.
- The Italian Red Cross (IRC) plans to close its delegation by the second half of 2003. In the first half of the year, however, the IRC envisages to continue supporting first aid courses in 50 branches of the TRCS. The IRCS is currently completing the construction of Golcuk local branch community centre which will support 500 vulnerable families in the area. The IRCS foresees to provide 250 family tents through the Federation in support of the disaster preparedness project.
The ICRC has no permanent presence in Turkey. However, through its regional delegate the ICRC assists the TRCS in establishing tracing activities as well as in promoting international humanitarian law and the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement to Turkish armed and security forces, academic circles and wider civil society through training and knowledge transfer. The ICRC, jointly with the Federation and the PNSs, will be contributing to the disaster management programme's training activities.
The Federation, the ICRC and the PNSs joined efforts to undertake the planned activities in a coordinated manner.
The cooperation agreement strategy (CAS) process was halted one year ago due to prevailing circumstances. However, in view of the organizational development achievements within the TRCS, the Federation's delegation will reactivate the process and, together with the TRCS, develop a CAS during 2003.
Priority Programmes for Secretariat Assistance
The Federation will continue to assist and support the TRCS in efforts to enhance its capacity by focusing on the following priority programmes:
- Health and Care:
The programme will focus on assisting the TRCS in increasing public awareness to prevent further spread of HIV/AIDS in Turkey through peer education and other training workshops as well as through media campaigns.
- Disaster Management:
The programme will concentrate on building the disaster response, preparedness and mitigation capacities of the TRCS through training in different areas (first aid, monitoring, reporting, international standards and tools in disaster management, etc.) both at the central and branch levels. It will ensure the reconstruction work on the selected sites are finalized. The psycho-social component of the programme will encourage community participation in the centres of the TRCS to promote self-reliance among the victims of the earthquakes.
- Organizational Development:
The programme will focus on assisting the TRCS in developing the Strategic Plan for 2003-2005 as well as in supporting branch development initiatives. It will pay special attention to capacity building at the branch level, and development of the policy and management system for volunteering.
- Federation Coordination:
The Federation will undertake a coordinating role ensuring smooth cooperation between all Red Cross and Red Crescent partners present in the country. In close cooperation with the organizational development efforts, the TRCS and Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, a CAS will be developed.
- Humanitarian Values:
Respect for, and implementation of the Movement's fundamental principles and humanitarian values are part of daily action and behaviour of the Federation and the national societies. As humanitarian values are the fundamental basis for RC work, promotion of humanitarian values is included in all activities and projects supported by the Federation's delegation in Turkey. An integrated approach is proposed where OD, health and care, DP/DR programmes and strategies are designed and implemented in respect and compliance to these principles.
Notably, a presentation of the RC/RC Movement and its fundamental principles is an obligatory part of all training courses, addresses, speeches, and includes a section "who we are and what we do".
The psycho-social community based project is certainly an example where humanitarian values are in focus and will continue to be. The HIV/AIDS project focusing on reducing stigmatization and discrimination is another example where humanitarian values are the basis.
Since 2000, the Federation promoted induction courses starting with local staff of the PNSs and delegates. Focus was later on the staff members of the TRCS at headquarters and establishing a core of trainers from among staff members of the TRCS, the PNSs and the Federation. Since 2001, the TRCS made it obligatory for all in the organization to participate in an induction course that has an explicit section on humanitarian values. The Federation supports the induction courses by providing facilitators from its local staff. Presently the induction courses are part of the OD programme and courses will continue at the branches of the TRCS.
The international representation of the Federation will be channelled, as it was so far, through the various programmes the Federation is supporting in Turkey, through the network of collaborators (the UN, Turkish government, universities, etc.) and through constant contacts with the diplomatic corps and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As much as possible, the contacts and representation are done together with TRCS.
In the psycho-social support programme, a reference committee with professors from several universities take part in the delegation's monthly meetings. A "safe buildings" workshop is planned in collaboration with technical universities in Istanbul. Representatives from the UN agencies, concerned ministries and NGOs take part in disaster preparedness training organized and facilitated by the delegation.
The Federation's delegation chaired the International Working Group's monthly meetings during 2001. Members include representatives of all UN agencies, interested embassies, governmental organizations, international NGOs and the TRCS, as the Federation was able to include the national society in this group. The chairmanship of the group is rotating and during 2002, the UN was in the chair with very few meetings held. The Federation has now taken initiative to revitalize these meetings since it is an important forum to share information and discuss issues of common interest.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed great interest in the International Disaster Response Law (IDRL) project of the Federation. This will provide increased opportunities to represent the Federation in regional groups and gatherings.
1 USD 3,586,194 or EUR 3,552,229.
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.
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