Joint project with EU and UNDP to clear 80,000 mines in eastern Turkey
More than 80,000 landmines located on the border with Iran in eastern Turkey will be cleared as part of a joint project prepared by the European Union and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The 4.2 million square meters (1,037 acres) landmine clearance project will begin on Wednesday, Anadolu (AA) reported.
The EUR 18.6 million ($ 21.7 million) project, funded by the EU and carried out by the UNDP and the Turkish Mine Action Center (TURMAC – MAFAM), covers the area close to the Turkish border -iranian.
In addition to the temporary jobs created during the demining process, the project also aims to stimulate the local economy by allocating part of the cleared land to farmers and herders. In addition, some deminers recruited in Turkey in the initial phases of the project have resumed their careers abroad.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, accompanied by the Project Manager Ulrich Rainer, visited the Governor of Iğdır Hüseyin Engin Sarıibrahim in the framework of the project.
On the first day of his visit to Iğdır, the Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, and his delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Iğdır, Mr. Hüseyin Engin Sarıibrahim.@sariibrahim_h pic.twitter.com/DE7eQr7Z2A
– AB Türkiye Delegasyonu EU Delegation Turkey (@EUDelegationTur) September 27, 2021
“Integrated border management is an approach that the EU promotes in all its programs, including in the demining of national borders. It represents a modernized, cost-effective and – most importantly – humane means of border protection. EU support for landmine elimination also helps Turkey meet its commitments under the Ottawa Convention, to which Turkey has been a party since 2004, and which bans the use of anti-personnel landmines ” Meyer-Landrut said in remarks made by the website of the EU Delegation to Turkey.
Describing landmines as the most inhuman tool for border control, UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton said: “They kill indiscriminately and endanger rather than protect the lives of those tasked with managing the landmines. frontier. This is why we are so proud that UNDP Turkey is currently managing the largest ongoing demining project under United Nations auspices in the world. This large scale demonstrates Turkey’s strong commitment to humanitarian border management, in line with EU standards. “
In addition, a budget of US $ 2.5 million has also been allocated by the government to UNDP to help TURMAC assess some 3,502 minefields in the region, which would serve as the basis for future demining projects.
Accompanied by the director of TURMAC Brig. General Mehmet Zeki Eren, Meyer-Landrut and Vinton then visited a minefield near Iğdır to see the project in action.
“We have been successfully working in this humanitarian demining operation with the EU and UNDP since 2016, to contribute to Turkey’s border monitoring and management capacity,” Eren said. “We are convinced that our efforts to eliminate the risk posed by landmines will ensure a safer environment for people and stimulate the local economy. “
Currently, 175 people and 16 mine detection dogs are working in four Turkish provinces for mine clearance operations.
The project also aims to provide further training to TURMAC personnel in various regions, while cooperating with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Turkish gendarmerie to educate the inhabitants of more than 900 villages on landmines and non-munitions. exploded.
By becoming a party to the Ottawa Treaty in 2004, Turkey agreed to phase out anti-personnel landmines and establish a humanitarian border surveillance system. UNDP’s efforts are helping to make measurable progress towards compliance with the Ottawa Treaty while meeting the EU’s goals for integrated border management. Turkey is one of 30 countries where UNDP works to support national mine clearance and mine action authorities.
Turkey abolished the use of anti-personnel landmines by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2011. A mine clearance agency tasked with clearing landmines planted in border regions of the country was established in 2015.
Turkey is one of the 10 states with massive antipersonnel mine contamination, which includes more than 100 square kilometers of contamination, according to Landmine Monitor 2020.
The country became a party to the Ottawa Treaty, a global convention for the demining and ban of anti-personnel mines in 2004, and was granted an extension of the time required to destroy all landmines on its territory in 2013, following the failure of Turkey. to meet the first deadline in March 2014. Turkey’s efforts to clear landmines were hampered when unrest erupted in Syria in 2011, with which it shares a heavily covered 915-kilometer (568.56-mile) border. of mines. The conflict between the Syrian regime and the opposition over the border in Syria has further complicated efforts for the planned tenders for land-based demining works.