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Turkey

PREPARE is steadily its extending its contacts in Turkey, and its contributions to events in that country. In mid-June, Michael Dower (former coordinator of PREPARE) represented us at a meeting in Tatvan in southeast Turkey organised by the KKG network, the Hüsnü M. Özey?in Foundation and the Böll Foundation. 
This event included a fascinating day of field visits to mountain villages in the Kavar Basin, which are home to Kurdish people, many of whom have returned to the villages after being forcibly moved away by the government following the conflicts of the 1990s. They have had to rebuild homes which were damaged or destroyed, and to bring abandoned land back into cultivation. During the last five years, the Özey?in Foundation has helped the villages to strengthen their fragile economies and social infrastructure. It paid for the training of women in beekeeping, and supplied 10 beehives to each woman who wished to keep bees. It funded the creation of a village oven for bread-making; the planting of orchards; and the equipment for a new enterprise to grow ornamental flowers, managed by a group of women. It paid for the construction of a primary school, to serve the whole group of eight villages; and for the construction or conversion of a number of buildings to serve as village halls. This support from the Foundation has been matched by a great deal of voluntary effort from the villagers.
While he was in Turkey, Michael Dower held meetings in Ankara with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Livestock; the Ministry of Development; the European Union Delegation to Turkey; and the Development Foundation for Turkey. These contacts will help PREPARE in considering how it can assist the strengthening of civil society, and the building of closer relations between civil society and government, in Turkey.