Strengthening ties with Turkey

January 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turkey pledges support. Right to left: H.E. Mehmet Eker, Dr Mahmoud Solh, Dr Masum Burak, Dr Kamil Shideed

H.E. Mehmet Mehdi Eker, Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, has strongly endorsed plans to expand Turkey-ICARDA collaboration. The Minister discussed ongoing research and future plans with an ICARDA delegation comprising Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General; Dr Kamil Shideed, Assistant Director General for International Cooperation and Communications; and Dr Mesut Keser, Country Manager, Turkey. They were accompanied by Dr Masum Burak, Director General, General Directorate of Agricultural Research (GDAR), and member of ICARDA’s Board of Trustees.

The meeting, held in Ankara, 19 January, highlighted the role these partnerships could play in ensuring food security in the region, and the many opportunities to expand collaborative research on crop improvement (wheat, barley, chickpea), drought, livestock and other areas. The Minister pledged continuing support from the Turkish government. It was agreed that strategic collaboration would be developed in both research and capacity development between ICARDA and the Drought Center newly established in Konya.

GAP-ICARDA agreement, signed by Mr Sadrettin Karahocagil (right) and Dr Solh

Other meetings, with the Director General and senior management of GDAR, helped identify collaborative research activities in winter wheat and other areas. Discussions with the Turkish International Development Agency as well as international organizations (FAO and UNDP) helped develop a shared understanding of future priorities. The ICARDA team also visited the Southeastern Anatolian Development Administration (GAP) in Sanliurfa, to renew a Memorandum of Understanding (first signed in 1998) on GAP-ICARDA collaborative research. Mr Sadrettin Karahocagil, GAP President, noted there were several areas where the ongoing program could be expanded, for example watershed management, conservation agriculture, crop-rangeland-livestock systems and socio-economic studies. A team of ICARDA scientists will visit GAP in April to explore these possibilities in greater detail.

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