TİKA chairman says Turkey’s aid unconditional

February 15, 2011, Tuesday/ 17:04:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) Chairman Musa Kulaklıkaya has said Turkey delivers unconditional aid to the poor, recalling that many relief organizations impose a variety of preconditions before delivering humanitarian support.

Speaking about Turkey’s aid strategy on Monday with members of the Association of Diplomacy Correspondents (DMD), Kulaklıkaya said state-run TİKA has prepared the National Security Strategy, which will soon be unveiled.

Kulaklıkaya noted that as a developing country, Turkey is currently receiving aid and it wants to share its experience with others as a rising donor country.

Stressing that some countries and relief organizations deliver humanitarian aid with preconditions, Kulaklıkaya said Turkey delivers unconditional aid, adding: “If you give a loan, you impose preconditions. If you want to strengthen relations with a country, you need to realize infrastructure projects without intervening in the domestic affairs of the country.”

Kulaklıkaya said Turkey has a responsibility to those living in the region because they have shared history, recalling that they have spent $900 million in humanitarian aid, operating in more than 100 countries. “Sometimes we open doors that diplomacy cannot,” he added.

Kulaklıkaya also dismissed criticism that Turkey is helping countries ruled by authoritarian regimes, claiming that not dictators but impoverished people benefit from their assistance. He said some of the preconditions, such as those the European Union sets forth before assistance, are related to domestic affairs. He said that while donor countries ask poor countries to democratize, they also intervene in domestic politics. The chairman said his agency targets opening up in new regions and increasing their activities, particularly in Africa. He said they have never had any negative incidents there and that it is easier for them to enter African countries than others.

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