Opening of the WCO Regional Dog Training Center in Ankara

14 septiembre 2017

At the invitation of the Undersecretary, Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade, Mr. Cenap Aşci, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya attended the inauguration ceremony of the WCO Regional Dog Training Center in Ankara, Turkey on 13 September 2017.  

On the previous day, Dr. Mikuriya had a bilateral meeting with Mr. Asçi and his management team and visited the Command and Control Center, located within the Ministry of Customs and Trade, that monitors the major movements of airplanes, sea vessels and trucks.  On the same day, he also visited the excavation site of Kanan-Kalehöyük, 100 kilometres south-west of Ankara, administered by the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology where evidence of the oldest steel manufacture in the world was discovered, dating back more than 4000 years ago.  This is one of the sites showing mankind's oldest ability to smelt iron-ore, which ultimately resulted in the beginning of the Iron Age, and which would later spread from Anatolia to the rest of the world some 3200 years ago, paving the way for the current civilization.

Mr. Bülent Tüfenkcí, Minister of Customs and Trade, formally opened the Regional Dog Training Center, whereas the former Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Party, Mr. Hayati Yazici, applauded the realization of this project.  In his keynote address, Secretary General Mikuriya recalled his visit on the previous day to the excavation’s site, where precious stones were discovered coming from Afghanistan and dating back more than 4000 years ago, and adhered to the views, that the strategic location of Anatolia as  a crossroad for international trade was the background of this major breakthrough in civilization. The discovery of fragments of writing that refers to  the trading of goods could also be seen as part of the evidence of trade and inevitably that of Customs activities.  

Dr. Mikuriya observed that the tradition of promoting trade seemed to have been inherited by modern-day Turkey, underlining the fact that Turkey was one of the founding Members of the WCO, 65 years ago.  He highlighted Turkey's contribution to the WCO, including recently to the Transit Guidelines, the establishment of the Trade Facilitation Board where Customs was designated as Co-Chair and Secretariat to ensure coordinated border management in the framework of the WTO Agreement of Trade Facilitation.  He cautioned however that the strategic location offered opportunities but also presented potential risks of illicit trade that terrorist and criminal organizations may try to exploit.  He added that Turkish Customs demonstrated leadership in the use of technology and partnership in this respect as evidenced by its state-of-the-art Command and Control Center, and  the hosting of the Regional Dog Training Center, which would contribute to sharing best practices and enhancing human network in the neighbouring countries.  

Dr. Mikuriya stressed that with strong political support, willingness for partnerships and the professionalism of Customs officers, he is confident in the future success of the Regional Dog Training Center’s activities.

The opening event was accompanied by the performance of detector dogs and the tour of the advanced infrastructure. During his visit, Secretary General Mikuriya also took the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Customs and Trade, Mr. Bülent Tüfenkcí.