BELGRADE, Serbia

Turkey has played a significant role in North Macedonia’s development, completing nearly 500 projects in sectors including health, education and agriculture over the last few years.

In a statement to Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state-run aid agency TIKA said it started its activities in the Balkan country in 2005 as part of bilateral cooperation agreements.

Education

TIKA renovated and provided equipment to a total of 40 primary schools, high schools, and universities in North Macedonia.

It supported 17,000 students with educational opportunities. The agency arranged Turkish courses and organized cultural trips to Turkey.

Nearly 500 North Macedonian teachers have also benefitted from training programs held in Turkey.

Health

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, TIKA has provided 550 non-contact thermometers and 750 disinfectant stations to be used in kindergartens, primary schools, and various educational institutions.

To improve the country’s health infrastructure and expand healthcare to rural areas, TIKA helped in the repair and buying of new equipment such as emergency aid and ambulances for health centers.

To fight infant mortality, the emergency unit of a pediatrics clinic affiliated with St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje was renovated and equipped.

Production

The Turkish state agency also implemented projects to encourage family-run businesses, and increase quality food production.

In 80 villages, greenhouse agricultural enterprises were established for 1,000 farmer families in need, where vegetables can be grown all year round.

Necessary training and equipment support was also provided for modern beekeeping to 200 families, who now produce up to 30 tons of honey annually.

TIKA also implemented the Walnut Cultivation Project to create an alternative source of livelihood for low-income families. It provided over 10,000 walnut saplings to more than 300 families.

Digitalization, restoration

The Turkish development agency carried out projects for the digitalization of archives.

Approximately 130,000 historical images, and 774 notebooks/files from the Ottoman period were obtained, classified and made accessible to researchers for further study.

Restoration projects were also executed to sustain and maintain historical structures such as the Sultan Murat Mosque, the Ishak Bey (Alaca) Mosque, and the Huseyin Shah Mosque in Skopje.

*Written by Talha Ozturk in Belgrade

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