Turkish aid agency completes 44 projects in Croatia

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has completed 44 projects in Croatia, an agency official said Saturday.

Hasim Koc, TIKA coordinator in the capital Zagreb, said the projects, mostly in education field, were conducted in last three years.

TIKA launched its first aid activities in the western Balkans nation in 2014 after the region was severely hit by floods, Koc told Anadolu Agency.

However, the aid organization formally opened its office in Zagreb in 2016.

The agency had implemented an agricultural development program for families affected by the floods in eastern Gunja town. Under the program, 50 families were provided with greenhouses, while 50 others were given cows, he added.

He also said that partial renovations of a mosque and an Islamic cultural center, which were damaged by the disaster, were done by TIKA.

TIKA aims at boosting ties between Turkey and Croatia as it works to protect historical and cultural heritage in the country. It also completed several projects in the fields of education, agriculture, stockbreeding, health and science.

Other projects include equipment support, home health care, researches on historical heritage, symposium and culture festivals, as well as the ones to keep bilateral relations alive.

Koc went on to say the agency is going to organize a children's fest with attendance of 1,200 minors to mark Turkey's April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day.

He also added that the agency plans to build a children's park in the northwestern Karlovac city.

"Maintenance and equipment of a public education center in Slunj town was completed and it was going to be handed over some time soon," Koc noted, adding that TIKA runs project in least-developed areas in the country, as well as the large cities.

He said they were planning to run a project for disabled people in this year.

"We aim to facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in social life through the projects we develop for the employment of these groups."

In 2018, the agency worked on capacity building project at Dotted Soaps Workshop together with the Zagreb Association of the Blind, he informed.

The project also allowed the production of liquid soaps, as well as handmade ones.

"Before our contribution, only one person was working at the workshop, at the end of the project employment opportunities for 12 visually impaired friends were provided," he said.

During Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's visit to Ankara on Jan. 16, TIKA signed a protocol with the Croatian Islamic Union to build the Islamic Cultural Center in Sisak, located 57 kilometers (35 miles) south of the capital.

"Sisak is a city that has received many workers and immigrants because of being one of the important industrial cities of the former Yugoslavia," said Koc.

"Some of the migrants are Muslims. For this reason, Muslim population in Sisak is higher than the rest of Croatia."

The Islamic union launched the construction of the cultural center in 2017 and contributed to the project to certain level, according to Koc, who went on to assert that the remaining works of the project will be completed with contribution of Turkey under the supervision of TIKA.

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