The Expert Training Program themed as “Disaster Management, Water Management and Urban Transformation in Local Governments”, organized by Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) in cooperation with TIKA and Kechioren Municipality, between 09 and 13 November 2015 with the participation of 13 local governments authorities from Palestine, ended with the programs that took place in Istanbul and Ankara.

After the opening session in Union Headquarters, the participants made a cultural tour in Istanbul, and visited Topkapi Cultural Park and 1453 Museum; afterwards they went to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Introduction and Information Project Tent and were informed about the activities and future projects of the municipality.

On the first day of the program, Directorate of Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) within the structure of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Fire Department was visited. The delegation was hosted by Director of AKOM Mustafa Akyüz, and was informed about the precautions taken in Istanbul in case of disasters and activities that are made before and after a disaster. Talking on behalf of the group, Yousef Alja’bari stated that Palestine lands are under the occupation of Israel so they are always at war and this has led them live in a perpetual disaster condition. He also added that they would apply the information and experience they have had here to their own city.

ISKI, AĞAÇ INC., IMM Directorate of Parks and Green Environment shared their Experience

On the second day of the program, the delegation visited General Directorate of ISKI. The delegation was welcomed by Director of Water Treatment Fatih Yildiz in General Directorate of ISKI. After giving information about the establishment and structure of ISKI, Yildiz replied the questions of the delegation about membrane system on waste water treatment, and said that they are developing the system right now and with the future investments, they would use totally local production filter system. Talking on behalf of the group, Yousef Alja’bari stated that there are three lakes in Hebron region and that they can’t benefit from these lakes because of Israeli policies; besides he added that they have been prevented from drilling water well. He also said that they have real big problems about clean water so they are continuing their studies on waste water treatment.

On the afternoon part of the same program, AĞAÇ Inc. General Directorate was visited. Here the delegation was hosted by Deputy Director General Faruk Kacır. After watching Arabic introductory film, Kacır gave information about the corporation and stated his gladness about hosting the officials of Hebron Municipality in Turkey. After the presentation, the delegation visited the nursery garden of AĞAÇ Inc., and was informed about the plant species and their nurture.

At the last program of the delegation in Istanbul, IMM Directorate of Parks and Green Environment was visited. Here the delegation was informed about the theme parks in Istanbul and the lighting of green environment.

Keçiören Municipality Shared Its Experience with its Sister Hebron Municipality

As one of the sister cities of Kechioren Municipality, Hebron Municipality delegation from Palestine had the chance to see the services of Kechioren Municipality on site. The delegation also met with the Mayor Mustafa Ak in his office.

Mayor Mustafa Ak welcomed the group in his office by saying “Welcome, I am very happy to see you here”, and added that Kechioren is one of the largest districts of Turkey with its 900.000 population. He said, “As sister cities, we share our experiences mutually. I hope you will apply what you have seen here in Hebron. Every municipality has something to learn from another municipality. When you go back to Hebron, please present our best regards to your Mayor and to our Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

On the other hand, Spokesman of the delegation thanked Mayor Ak for hosting them in Keçiören and said, “The training we had and the services we have seen brought light to our future. We thank you and Turkish people for their support.”

The sister city delegation visited Sea World and Kalaba Sports Center, Botanical Park, Togem Office, Gumushdere Ihlamur Valley, Municipal Police Directorate, Environment Protection and Control Directorate, Parks and Green Environment Directorate, Directorate of Technical Works, AK Masa, Town Council Room, Estergon Turkish Culture Center, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Park, Kanuni Sultan Suleyman Park, Güngörmüşler Mansion, Yükseltepe Urban Transformation Area, Kartaltepe City Forest and Picnic Area.

In the closing ceremony made at the last day of the program, Hebron Municipality officials evaluated the one-week program and they were presented their Participation Certificates by Secretary General of TDBB Fahri Solak. After giving the presents, the delegation was seen off to the airport.