» Director-General meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to strengthen ties between UNESCO and Tu...
05.10.2017 - ODG

Director-General meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to strengthen ties between UNESCO and Turkey

© UNESCO/Christelle ALIX

On 5 October, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, met with Director-General Irina Bokova, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to discuss fields of common interest for deeper cooperation.

The Director-General thanked the Government of Turkey for its commitment to taking forward the objectives of the Organization, highlighting Turkey’s active engagement as member of several UNESCO intergovernmental bodies and its steady support to the Organization’s activities over the years.  

Minister Çavuşoğlu expressed satisfaction with the close and fruitful cooperation Turkey enjoys with UNESCO and praised the Director-General’s leadership during the eight years of her tenure and under difficult financial constraints.

He underlined that Turkey is now hosting more than 3 million Syrian refugees, and reiterated his Government’s determination to provide quality education to them by working with UNESCO and the European Union.

The Director-General informed the Minister of the advancement of the project focusing on technical and vocational education and training for Syrian refugees in Turkey and emphasized the importance of skills development for Syrian refugee youth. In this regard, she recalled her visit to Gaziantep in May 2016, when she travelled to Turkey to participate in the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul.

The Director-General also stressed that Turkey is an indispensable partner of UNESCO and its Member States in the protection of cultural heritage and the return and restitution of illegally trafficked cultural property, particularly from Syria, Iraq and other areas of conflict.

Irina Bokova and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also exchanged about the reform of UNESCO and the challenges for the future of the Organization.

At the end of the meeting, the Minister presented the Director-General with the Outstanding Service Award of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. “You are a great friend of Turkey, a visionary leader who succeeded to implement major reforms and to promote UNESCO’s agenda under very challenging financial circumstances,” said the Minister.

In the afternoon, Minister Çavuşoğlu addressed the 202nd session of the Executive Board of UNESCO.

Turkey is a member of several UNESCO intergovernmental bodies, including the World Heritage Committee whose 40th session it hosted in Istanbul in 2016. Turkey has 17 World Heritage sites, 14 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 5 inscriptions on the Memory of the World Register, 10 UNESCO Chairs, and 23 Associated Schools.


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