TIKA Head: "Turkey's approach to international aid differs from the old colonial powers"
Unlike the colonial tendencies of China, Britain or France, Turkey focuses its international assistance programs on helping Turkic communities around the world, preserving Ottoman culture, and sending relief to crisis areas, according to the head of the country's international development agency. "In our approach, the colonialism of Chinese assistance is absent," said Musa Kulaklikaya, who heads the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), on Sunday. "Our approach is also different than that of former colonialists like Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, who are trying to erase the dark stains of their colonial past." Addressing members of the Group of Architects and Engineers, Kulaklikaya said the role of international assistance is a kind of "soft power." TIKA has 26 offices in 23 countries, including Senegal, Sudan and Ethiopia. The relationship between an assistance country and a recipient country can be beneficial if it is based on a win-win paradigm, he said. TIKA's international assistance has risen dramatically in recent years, said Kulaklikaya, from some $40-$80 million annually in 2002-2004 to about $700 million annually in 2006-2009.