UNDP launches new demining project in Turkey
ANKARA – Anadolu AgencyA new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project to clear Turkey’s eastern borders of land mines was launched on April 4, International Land Mine Awareness Day, at a hotel in Ankara with the participation of Defense Minister İsmet Yıldız.
Co-financed by the EU and Turkey, the project named the “Technical Assistance for Socioeconomic Development through Demining and Increasing the Border Surveillance Capacity at the Eastern Borders of Turkey” is going to add to Turkey’s efforts to clear land mines. Yıldız, speaking at the event, said Turkey had cleared an area of some 1.15 million square meters of land mines so far.
“We have also annihilated a total of 3 million land mines which were in storage,” said Yıldız, adding that in 2014, some 3,768 people were harmed by land mines across the world.
“We are continuing efforts to clear areas in our country of land mines. Up to today, we have opened 1,150,000 square meters of area to use as we have cleared it of mines... Our state is providing all kinds of support to those citizens who are mine victims, as it offers social security service to those victims who are not able to work,” said Yıldız, adding that Turkey was a party to the Ottawa Treaty, which banned the production, storage and use of anti-personnel land mines.
Yılmaz also recalled the establishment of the Mine Services Center National Directorate, which aimed to conduct mine and unexploded ordnance clearing activities from a single center, and added that another UNDP project to clear mines on Turkey’s eastern borders was going to virtually begin in the province of Ardahan and the province of Van’s Saray district this month.
Also speaking at the event, UNDP Turkey resident representative Kamal Malhotra underlined that mines were a great threat to human life and health as they do not differentiate between soldiers and children. Malhotra also said the project would contribute to Turkey’s border management system and decrease cross-border crime.