"This programme is being built by the people involved in it: it's its real value"

At DOKA we have been part of two projects within ENPI CBC. These projects were related to building and implementing a joint tourism marketing strategy, creating joint cultural heritage routes and assets and increasing knowledge and experience of local stakeholders, NGOs and SMEs.

In these projects, we have reached certain outcomes projected within the concept of these projects as is often the case for most projects. However, the Black Sea Basin programme has provided us with some real partnerships which in return provided first hand and first class knowledge and experience regarding our partner regions. There was no way of having such experience and networks in Georgia, Moldova, Greece and Bulgaria without having a real network in these regions. For example, thanks to these programmes, DOKA tourism SMEs have had opportunity to meet with officials for the first time from the Georgian tourism ministry where they exchanged views on improving their tour programmes covering Turkey and Georgia. Also, our tourism companies have enriched their tour programmes by adding new touristic spots after they have seen some magnificent parts of Georgia which were unknown to them.

In my humble opinion, the real value of the ENPI CBC programme funded projects is being built by the people involved in these projects. It is often the case that people from partners or beneficiaries involved in these projects are being introduced to their Black Sea neighbors for the first time in their lives. Therefore, we can easily say that ENPI CBC is creating a window wide open for you to meet and learn about your Black Sea neighbors which have been forgotten for most of the past century due to world politics. It is then up to people and institutions to create added value together for their common objectives.

Mehmet Bozdogan is Head of the Project Development and Implementation Unit at Eastern Black Sea Development Agency (DOKA), in Trabzon, Turkey. Mehmet is a B.A. graduate in International Relations from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. He holds an MA in European Studies and an MA in Sociology from Exeter University UK and Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, respectively.

He is fluent in English and has basic knowledge of Russian and Polish. Before his current position at DOKA Mr. Bozdogan worked as Trade Assistant for the Embassy of the Philippines, EU Expert for Ministry of Transport and Communications of Republic of Turkey and Business Service Manager for EU-Turkish Business Development Center, Trabzon.

Mr. Bozdogan has extensive experience in EU Acquis and EU Programmes as well as implementation of EU funded operations and projects. He has actively worked in preparation, implementation and management of several projects and operations within the framework of the EU funded MEDA Programme, IPA Programme for Turkey, LLP/Erasmus +, COSME and ENPI CBC Black Sea Programme projects.