By Talha Ozturk
The Turkish Red Crescent is taking concrete steps and launching new projects to expand its work in the Balkans, said Kerem Kinik, head of the non-profit organization.
Kinik, who was visiting Croatia's capital Zagreb for the 140th anniversary of the Croatian Red Cross, shared the activities and future plans of the organization.
"We have launched a new movement in the Balkans. In order to improve our disaster management capacity, we first formed a team in Bulgaria. We also opened a permanent delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are working to expand our work in the region."
Kinik said that they will continue to share their experiences with national associations in order to reduce the risk of disasters and improve their capacity in the Balkans.
"We have a lot of work in terms of storing tents and blankets in warehouses in these regions, providing first aid and search and rescue training."
He said the world is suffering from 40 armed conflicts which
"People leave their countries either voluntarily or by force due to poverty and political turmoil caused by these conflicts."
However, he said, the EU member states did not exhibit any sensitivity over the issue.
"The most recent example is of the annulment of the registration of migrant ship Aquarius, which carried out search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean and the Middle Mediterranean.
"Currently, there is no humanitarian aid vessel carrying out search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean. Every year around 3-4,000 people
Kinik recalled that Turkey hosts around 4 million refugees.
"This figure is showing Turkey's humane foreign policy. We expect the EU to approach the issue with a similar view," he added.
The Turkish Red Crescent is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey, with an international network to help other nations in need.