• 07 March 2016

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    Category : Reportage

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    The Spanish Ombudsman’s Office, a model for Turkey

    Spain has had an Ombudsman's Office for over 30 years and, thanks a Twinning project financed by the European Commission and managed by FIIAPP, the institution is currently sharing its know-how with the Turkish people.

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    Inauguración del proyecto en Turquía

    Nearly 80 million people live in Turkey and up to just over two years ago, the Turkish population did not have a place to go where they felt protected and could file complaints or be represented in cases of basic human rights violations.

    Things have changed, because citizens have had an Ombudsman’s Office for nearly three years. They have benefited from the experiences of the Spanish and French Ombudsman’s Offices, which worked with their Turkish counterparts for two years to overcome one of the greatest challenges: modernising itself to provide good service to citizens.

    Currently the Turkish Ombudsman’s Office is facing another big challenge, that of making itself a respected, effective and independent institution. To achieve this, it has to make its existence known to its nearly 80 potential clients, so that they know that there is somewhere to go if something goes wrong; to the Administration, before which it will have to defend the interests of citizens; and, of course, it has to spread the word among other actors it will have to work with, such as NGOs and civil society.

    The staff of the Turkish Ombudsman’s Office has learned how to receive and process citizen complaints and, although the institution is still not very widely known among the Turkish people, it is receiving complaints every day from the population. The most common ones have to do with issues of schools, taxes…

    Victoria Palau, the project coordinator on the ground, tells us that they have devoted “special attention to refugees and that Turkey has more than two million Syrian refugees. For this reason, staff members from the Turkish Ombudsman’s Office have visited refugee camps and are working to improve the quality of life for these people”.

     

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