Istanbul to turn into UN hub, humanitarian operation center

Istanbul to turn into UN hub, humanitarian operation center

Önder Yılmaz - ISTANBUL
Istanbul to turn into UN hub, humanitarian operation center

The comprehensive efforts of Turkish authorities toward the goal of turning Istanbul into a U.N. hub in line with Turkey’s business and humanitarian foreign policy are bearing fruit.

The U.N. will relocate some headquarters to Istanbul from Geneva and open an Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the metropolis to support field operations worldwide.

A proposal for approval of the agreement between Turkey and the U.N. on the establishment of OCHA in Istanbul was accepted at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Parliament.

With this move, the U.N. will manage and support humanitarian crises in the world, especially in the Middle East, from Istanbul.

The office will also provide services on a global and regional scale in areas such as the planning, monitoring, the coordination of humanitarian aid and tracking of financial transactions.

Speaking to Milliyet daily, Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran said that OCHA’s arrival in Istanbul will be an important step in terms of transforming Istanbul into a U.N. hub.

“It will also strengthen our relations with OCHA and the U.N.,” he said.

Currently, nine U.N. agencies are operating in Istanbul, and efforts are underway for eight more critical U.N. agencies to open offices in Istanbul, together with OCHA which also has two regional branches, both in the capital Ankara and in the southern province of Gaziantep, addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Syria.

All of the U.N.’s cross-border humanitarian aid operations against Syria are carried out through the Cilvegözü Border Gate in the southern province of Hatay.

These aids, the process of which are coordinated by OCHA, reach nearly 2.5 million people in need in a month.