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UN Bratislava Center Slated to Be Moved to Turkey, By Turkish UNDP Official

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 16 -- The UN is poised to close its Bratislava Center and move dozens of jobs held by Slovaks to an increasingly powerful country in the UN and the world, Turkey, sources tell Inner City Press.

   Giving rise to complaints not only in Slovakia but elsewhere in the UN system is that the official making the stealth move is herself Turkish.

  Six months ago, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named "Ayse Cihan Sultanoglu of Turkey as Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States" for the UN Development Program.

   And now she moves the UNDP Bratislava Regional Center for Europe and the CIS to Istanbul -- "subject to a feasibility study but that will no doubt come up with the right answers," as one Inner City Press source puts it.

   Inner City Press has previously covered this Bratislava Center, getting UNDP to admit that then-director "Ben Slay sometimes works from the Vienna office" while ostensible running the Bratislava Center. This was part of a series on UNDP, resulting in a press release against Inner City Press by UNDP, since mimicked by others.

   Now the Bratislava Center is slated to be closed, and some 80 Slovak jobs put in jeopardy.

   Inquiring into the process of this decision making, a well place source tells Inner City Press that Cihan Sultanoglu

"informed the acting director of the Bratislava Regional Center on or around Monday 13th August. The director designate, Olivier Adam, was visiting the Bratislava Regional Center at that time and claimed that he did not know prior to this. The acting director made an announcement at a staff meeting in Bratislava on 15th August. No announcement has been made by Cihan herself.

"The only person who appears to have known in advance of her intentions is Dmitri Mariassin. He is the 'partnerships adviser' in Bratislava and reputed to be Cihan’s close confidante. She thus apparently shared her views with one member of staff while the 70 Slovaks who will probably all lose their jobs, the acting director, and director designate were not informed.

"It is also known by the way that the recruitment of the new Bratislava Center director was a pure fix and that Cihan had decided he should get the job in advance. At the same time she has arranged to bring back Ben Slay, who used to be the Bratislava director, as a Practice Manager – of course without any recruitment procedures (apparently as 'a move within the same business unit'). Junior staff are livid since they all have to apply for jobs in the normal way, plus Ben was known as an awful manager. The Ombudsman’s office has picked up on this one."

   We'll see -- watch this site.

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