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Richard Moore

FCO Political Director

Part of UK in Turkey

4th January 2016 London, UK

Praise for our project work

We diplomats are not often praised for the way in which we spend public funds.  The UK tabloids prefer to perpetuate the myth of the champagne-swilling cocktail party-goer.  So it was nice to receive some positive feedback recently about one of our long standing bilateral projects in Turkey.  My correspondent wrote “As a British taxpayer, I am pleased to see our commitment to this kind of development work.”  This was one of the many positive comments we received on the “Commercial Mediation Istanbul Pilot Project” from participants.

s-70d62e225a88f2cc0b6d4f6175a22a91e4f156e6This project has been funded through the Reuniting Europe Programme Fund.   The main purpose of the project, which is implemented by BAB Strategy and Business Development Consultancy in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Justice, is to increase public awareness and improve the implementation of Turkey’s Law on Mediation for the resolution of disputes arising between traders in the Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

The Grand Bazaar is an iconic market place. It remains an important trading centre in Istanbul today, bringing in substantial revenues and attracting a huge number of local and foreign tourists, approximately 90 million, including many British visitors, every year.  Like any other trading place or business centre, commercial disputes occur from time to time. The aim of the Commercial Mediation project was to help traders evolve their long-established, but creaking, customary practice into a more modern dispute resolution process.  Mediation remains true to those old traditions and retains their traditional Bazaar culture. Entry into force of the Law on Mediation in 2013 was a milestone, making this model of dispute resolution possible in Turkey.

This project is one of many we support in Turkey under the Reuniting Europe Programme, which is intended to help implement reforms necessary for EU accession. UK is one of the leading centres in the world for international legal services and for, both civil and commercial, mediation services.  We aim to use UK’s experience and expertise in this field to support Turkey’s reforms in the justice sector.

We are also collaborating closely with Turkey under our Bilateral Programme Budget – an effective tool to reach out to NGOs, important policy stakeholders and local governments in remote cities.  Another strand of our work is the Prosperity Fund, which supports our work in tackling climate change, strengthening energy security and promoting an open global economy.

I’m proud to say that  we are helping both Turkey and the UK to promote our national prosperity and strategic interests, at the same time as fulfilling our responsibility to get good value for British taxpayers’ money.