Ambassador Berger and EU Member State Representatives visit projects rolled out under the EU's Facility for Refugees in Turkey's South-East
The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger, Estonia’s Ambassador to Turkey Marin Mottus, the Minister Counsellor of the Romanian Embassy, First Secretaries of the Swedish, Dutch, and French Embassies, Counsellors from the Greek and German Embassies, and the Political Advisor from the Luxembourg Embassy visited projects rolled out under the EU's Facility for Refugees (Facility) in Gaziantep, Kilis and Osmaniye on 16-17 November 2017.
The trip started with the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of pre-fabricated schools in Osmaniye on 16 November. The ceremony, launching the construction of 60 pre-fabricated schools in various locations in Turkey, was attended by more than 200 participants, including Osmaniye Provincial Director of the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) Ramazan Çelik, Director of the Ankara office of the German Development Bank (KfW) Frank Bellon, MoNE Head of Department for Real Estate and Construction Özcan Duman, MoNE General Director for Lifelong Learning Ali Rıza Altunel, Osmaniye Governor Ömer Faruk Çoşkun, Osmaniye MP Suat Önal and the Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger. The pre-fabricated schools are part of the €225 million projects on education infrastructure "Education for All in Times of Crisis I and II".
Ambassador Berger and the EU representatives paid a visit to Osmaniye Governor Ömer Faruk Coşkun and Osmaniye Mayor Kadir Kara. The delegation and press members then met with students receiving scholarships from SPARK - an international NGO supported for this purpose by the EU. The €11 million SPARK project has so far enabled 390 Syrian students to pursue their education at Gaziantep University, Harran University in Şanlıurfa, Mustafa Kemal University in Hatay and Korkut University in Osmaniye.
The second day of the visit started with the opening of the pre-fabricated school Hürriyet İlkokulu in Kilis, an event also attended by UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador Tuba Büyüküstün. The event took place in the framework of EU's partnership with UNICEF on the 'No Lost Generation' initiative to support the Government of Turkey in responding to Syrian children's education needs. The aim of this joint EU-UNICEF project is to provide sustained and expanded inclusive access to quality education, a protective environment and opportunities for Turkish and Syrian children and youth, with a focus on girls and out-of-school children. Implemented since 2015, two projects worth some €50 million target Syrian children and their host communities in Adana, Adıyaman, Ankara, Batman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kilis, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Mardin, Mersin, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa.
Hürriyet İlkokulu is also supported under another FRIT project: PICTES (Project on Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education System). This project provides the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) with a direct grant of €300 million that aims to provide Turkish language training, catch-up classes and school material to Syrian children in order to facilitate their integration into the Turkish education system. The project is implemented in 23 provinces where most Syrians reside: İstanbul, Hatay, Kayseri, Osmaniye, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, Ankara, Batman, Konya, Kocaeli, Mersin, Mardin, Malatya, Bursa, İzmir, Antalya, Siirt, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Adana, Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman and Sakarya.
Kilis mayor Hasan Kara hosted the delegation and press members for lunch at the Kilis Municipality guesthouse. The trip ended with a visit to the Kilis Kızılay Community Center, supported by the EU in order for Syrians and Turkish host community members to meet, socialise, take vocational courses and build a community together. The EU has partnered with the Turkish Red Crescent to support community centres in Şanlıurfa, Konya, Ankara, Kilis, İstanbul, Gaziantep, Hatay, Three new community centres will be opened in Mardin, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri. This €32 million project is targeting 210.000 refugees and members of host communities.