“Information and Experience Sharing Program for Albania Municipalities”, organized cooperatively by Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB), Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB), Union of Mediterranean Municipalities (AKBB), Üsküdar Municipality and Bayrampaşa Municipality between 19 and 24 March 2017 for Albania Municipalities, was completed. After the presentations and site visits made in Istanbul, the delegation participated in “7th Antalya International City Planning and Technologies Fair and Local Governments Symposium” in Antalya.

The delegation, under the chairmanship of Voltana Ademi, was consisted of General Director of Association of Albania Municipalities Agron Haxhimali, Mayor of Gjirokastra Zamira Rami, Mayor of Mat Nezir Rizvani, Mayor of Permet Niko Shupuli, Mayor of Klos Basir Çupa, Mayor of Devoll Bledion Nallbati, Mayor of Kukes Bashkim Shehu, Mayor of Kamez Xhelal Mziu, Mayor of Pigradec Eduart Kapri, Deputy Mayor of Skrapar Jorid Celaj, Deputy Mayor of Berat Bledar Blana, Deputy Mayor of Durres Florian Tahiri, Deputy Mayor of Ballshi Votjona Mile, Deputy Mayor of Lezha Enver Hafizi, Council Member of Kavaj Municipality Perparim Caca, Secretary General of Vau Dejes Municipality Herion Jashari, Executive Assistant of Roskovec Municipality Evisa Mustafaj and Executive Assistant of Vlora Municipality Jeton Puka.

The program started with visiting Üsküdar Municipality

At the first day of the program the delegation visited Mayor of Üsküdar Hilmi Türkmen. Mayor Türkmen gave information to his Albanian colleagues about local governing in Turkey and then showed Nevmekan, a facility of Üsküdar Municipality. Later on the delegation visited Directorate of IBB Europe Parks and Gardens. Here the experts gave presentation on “Green Planting Management in Municipalities”, and then the delegation made a site visit.

At the second day of the program the delegation visited ISKI and a site visit was organized on “Water and Waste Water Management in Municipalities”. Later on the group visited ISTAÇ; they were presented on “Waste Management in Municipalities” and made a site visit.

Sister City Meeting and Certificate Ceremony took place in Bayrampaşa

At the second day of the program during the dinner ceremony, “Sister City Meeting and Certificate Ceremony” took place with the hosting of Bayrampaşa Municipality.

Sister City Meeting and Certificate Ceremony in Bayrampaşa were participated by Mayor of Bayrampaşa Atila Aydıner, Secretary General of TDBB Fahri Solak, Deputy Mayor of Bağcılar Kenan Gültürk, Manisa Metropolitan Municipality Director of European Union and Foreign Relations Department Nedim Zurnacı, Director of Büyükçekmece Municipality Foreign Relations Department Abdülhamit Pehlivan and Foreign Relations Expert of Zeytinburnu Municipality Harun Ayanoğlu.

Mayor of Bayrampaşa Atila Aydıner spoke at Albania Municipalities Sister City Meeting and said, “As Bayrampaşa Municipality we have never lost our interest in Albania. Our historical brotherhood goes back to hundred years ago. That’s why Albania is very important for us. We began our sister city relations with the municipalities in Albania through the efforts of TDBB. As a result of this, I thank the Albania municipalities who become members of TDBB. We will develop our relations. I thank you for participating in such a nice organization by coming from Albania.” Aydıner added that %42 of the population of Bayrampaşa with a 300.000 population is consisted of immigrants coming from Balkan area and continued, “After 1912 Balkan War, we welcomed our Albanian brothers migrating to Turkey. Many people coming from Kosovo and Bosnia in addition to Albania still live in Bayrampaşa in peace.” He stated that in Ramadan a big iftar organization will be made in Tirana of Albania and he invited the Albanian participants to the program.

On the other hand Secretary General of TDBB Fahri Solak said, “As TDBB, we are honored to welcome such an important delegation. We are ready to make any joint projects for the development of the cooperation in local governments with Albania. In these programs we bring participant municipalities together with the authorities of the sister cities in Turkey. In addition to the projects carried out via TDBB, we want the projects to be enriched with the common projects of the municipalities which have sister city relations. With this meeting sister cities can carry their relations a step further and carry out joint projects. I wish the cooperation between our local governments in our countries will move a step forward. We wish the number of the members of TDBB in Albania increases. I thank to all participants.”

Mayor of Iskodra Voltana Ademi stated that the program was very heavy and beneficial and added, “I see this visit as a new start. With this program, TDBB showed that it is open to these kinds of projects. As Albania we found the possibility to make beneficial activities in our country. I invite you to Albania to see our activities on site. This organized program was very helpful and it was so nice. We saw the activities of the municipalities in Turkey. I thank to the contributors.”

As for General Director of Association of Albania Municipalities Agron Haxhimali he said, “It was a very helpful program. We had different information and experience. I suggest sister municipalities develop projects among themselves with the contribution of these kinds of programs. I thank to the contributors.”

After the speeches the delegation was distributed their certificates. Following the certificate ceremony dual present-giving and group photo shooting, Istanbul part of the program ended.

Delegation participated in 7th EXPO Antalya Fair

Between 23 and 24 March 2017, the delegation participated in “7th Antalya City Planning and Technologies Fair” and “7th Antalya Local Governments Symposium”. Here the group made several important interviews and discussed the possible cooperation opportunities with President of Union of Mediterranean Municipalities (AKBB) and also Mayor of Kepez Hakan Tütüncü.

The program ended with the participants’ returning their country on 24 March 2017.