Program for Sharing Information and Experience with Bosnian member municipalities that was organized by the Union of Turkish World Municipalities that has lasted from September 12-16, 2017 has ended with presentations, examinations and field work done in Ankara and Istanbul. As a part of the program, visits to Turkish Parliament, TIKA (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency), Agency for the Development of Ankara, Municipality of Altındağ, and Municipality of Keçiören were conducted. The program was closed with the Meeting of Sister Cities and Certificate Ceremony hosted by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

As a part of delegation composed of 17 mayors, Semir Efendic Mayor of Novi Grad, Sarajevo and Administrative Board Member of Union of Turkish World Municipalities, Midhat Husic Mayor of Banovici, Suhret Fazlic Mayor of Bihac, Sead Muminovic Mayor of Celic, Obren Petrovic Mayor of Doboj, Kemal Bratic Mayor of Doboj-Istok, Mirnes Tukic Mayor of Doboj-Jug, Sabahudin Klisura Mayor of Fojnica, Muhamed Ramovic Mayor of Gorazde, Akif Fazlic Mayor of Ilijas, Emir Bubalo Mayor of Konjic, Nihad Omerovic Mayor of Srebrenik, Ibrahim Hadzibajric Mayor of Stari Grad, Sarajevo, Tajib Muminovic Mayor of Teocak, Suad Huskic Mayor of Tesanj, Admir Hadziemric Mayor of Travnik and Zejid Soto Deputy Mayor of Novi Grad, Sarajevo participated in the program.

On the first day of the program, TIKA was visited together with Bosnian ambassador in Turkey, Bakir Sadovic. Mahmut Cevik, president of Department for the Balkans and Eastern Europe shared information on TIKA’s activities with the mayors. After reminding mayors about TIKA’s activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina he thanked Union of Turkish World Municipalities for their cooperation. Cevik said that as TIKA they will support even more projects regarding the economic cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After TIKA, delegation paid a visit to Development Agency of Ankara. Halise Uysal, expert from the department for Managing Programs made a presentation about the organizational scheme of the Agency, duties, and assistance given to local communities. At the evening hours of the first day, the delegation visited a multi-purpose compound in Altinkoy that was transformed as a part of a re-urbanization project of Altindag Municipality. The delegation was welcomed by the Mayor of Altindag Veysel Tiryaki, with whom delegation went for a dinner prepared by the employees of the compound.

Mayors visited Erol Kaya in Turkish Parliament

The second day of the Ankara trip, delegation paid a visit to Turkish Parliament where mayors were welcomed by the member of Turkish parliament Erol Kaya, who at the same time, is AK Party General President for Local Communities. Together with Erol Kaya a tour of the Parliament building was made where mayors were informed about damages done to the building during the 15 of July coup attempt. Erol Kaya reminded the delegation that he has the honor to welcome them in the parliament and how Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina are two brotherly-countries. He added how they are trying hard to strengthen even more to the ties between two countries.

Share of experience was done with Kecioren and Altindag Municipalities

The second day continued with the visit to Municipality of Kecioren. The delegation had a chance to visit Gumusdere Ihlamur Valley project which was constructed as a part of “Return to Nature” project of Kecioren Municipality and cable car tour was made. Visit continued with the lunch where the Mayor of Kecioren Mustafa Ak, District governor of Kecioren Ugur Bulut and Bosnian Ambassador Bakir Sadovic participated as well. Mayor of Kecioren Mustafa Ak, who at the same time is Deputy-President of the Union of Turkish World Municipalities, said how they; “have strong ties with Turkic world and sister cities” and how they have “sister cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.” He reminded delegation how “Alija Izetbegovic is much respected in Turkey and that his municipality is commemorating Srebrenica genocide in front of the statue that bears his name every year.” Finally, the delegation participated at the Mehter assembly performance and then laid a wreath at the Srebrenica monument.

On the same day, Altindag municipality was visited. The delegation was informed about the re-urbanization projects by Altindag mayor Veysel Tiryaki. Mayor gave a lecture about “Re-urbanization and Geographical Information System.”

Delegation met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Turkey Nihat Zeybekci in TDBB’s Headquarters

On the third day of the program, the delegation met with Minister of Economy of Turkey Nihat Zeybekci at the headquarters of TDBB. Nihat Zeybekci who is ex-President of TDBB and member of the High Advisory Board said that he is very happy to see Bosnian mayors. He said to delegation that; “he wants to share opportunities with Bosnia, not problems.” Zeybekci said that; “he personally feels an attachment to Bosnia and that relations between two countries are getting closer and closer day by day.” He underlined that during his mandate as a Minister of Economy, economic cooperation has doubled. He reminded the delegation that if Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to improve its economy it has to strengthen economic cooperation with the neighboring countries and how he sees Turkey as a bridge in that process. According to this vision, he gave an example of Mutual Trade Office between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. He also said that Turkey is planning to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina until the end of this year.

Sister Cities Meeting and Certificate Ceremony in Istanbul

The last day of the program Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality hosted “Sister Cities Lunch and Certificate Ceremony.” Besides members of Bosnian delegation among the participants at the ceremony there were Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Kadir Topbas, Member of Turkish Parliament from Erzurum Zehra Taskesenlioglu, General Secretary of TDBB Fahri Solak, Consul General at Bosnian Consulate in Istanbul Began Muhic, General Secretary of UCLG-MEWA Mehmet Duman and representatives from Municipalities of Altinova, Efeler, Silivri, Turgutlu, Izmit, Yalova, Bagcilar, Pendik, Esenler, Kepez, Tuzla, Umraniye, Edremit, Selcuklu, Sincan and Fatih.

Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Kadir Topbas in his address to Bosnian members of TDBB said that; ”he feels great honor to welcome Bosnian guests in the city that has 8500 years of history and in the city that has been a melting pot of civilization”. He also said that Municipality is continuing to progress on the path that current President of Turkey has previously paved when he served as the Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. After reminding the delegation on projects done in Istanbul, Topbas said how they are generously sharing their knowledge and experience with the friends. “In the same way we generously share our food with the friends, we share our knowledge and experience with the friends as well. We believe that as we share our barakah will grow.”

After the speeches certificates were given to the members of delegation. With the family photo of the participants, the program ended.

After having a city tour in Istanbul, the delegation went back home on Saturday.