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Turkey Funds Renovation Projects in Kosovo

The renovation of an early 20th century school in Pristina is the latest project that the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency is helping to finance as Ankara keeps up its 'soft power' investment in Kosovo.
Elena Gjika elementary school in Pristina. Photo: Kosovo Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport 

The Pristina municipality on Tuesday signed a cooperation memorandum with the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA, to renovate the Elena Gjika elementary school, which was built at the beginning of the 20th century.

The renovation of the school, with its Austro-Hungarian architecture, will receive half of its funding from TIKA.

The renovation of the school is one of several projects that TIKA plans to support in Kosovo for 2018.

However the chief of TIKA’s office in Kosovo, Hasan Burak Ceran, declined to say how much is being spent on supporting projects in the country.

“We as TIKA do not show these amounts,” Ceran told BIRN.

“We have our reports that are seen by the two countries. I do not see it as a good thing to show the amount of how much we help the people of Kosovo,” he added.

Neither Ceran nor the mayor of Pristina, Shpend Ahmeti, said how TIKA will spend on the renovation of the school either.

“We have a culture in which the hand that gives should not be seen by the other hand,” said Ceran.

Ahmeti however said that the municipality will publish the agreement with the amount.

Ceran also mentioned other projects that are being supported by TIKA for 2018 in fields such as cultural heritage, agriculture and education.

“Pristina as the capital is important to us, but we also have projects in other municipalities,” he said.

He added that TIKA will soon inaugurate projects in the municipalities of Mamusha/Mamusa, Gllogoc/Glogovac, Prizren, Gjakova/Djakovica and other places.

On June, TIKA signed a memorandum with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport for the restoration of two mosques, in Pristina and Prizren.

Carshia Mosque and the Mosque of Sultan Mehmet dating from the Ottoman Empire are the oldest in country, according to the head of Islamic Community of Kosovo, Naim Ternava.

TIKA has renovated hundreds of historic monuments in the region, financed local projects and organised large events designed to reinforce bonds with Turkey.

While TIKA does not make public the amount it donates to Kosovo, in the last 10 years, Turkish private businesses have invested over 300 million euros.

“The total investments from Turkish businesses in Kosovo during 2007-2017 are 382.1 million euros,” the general secretary of the Kosovo Turkey Chamber of Commerce, Esin Muzbeg, told BIRN.

“During 2017 alone the investment was 29.4 million euros, while there is no data for 2018,” he added.

The Turkish construction company Enka, in consortium with Bechtel built the Merdare-Morina highway, a key connection, between Kosovo and Albania.

The Enka-Bechtel joint venture is also constructing another major highway, between Kosovo and Macedonia.

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