Meet our Planning and Policy Advisor
Seeing a colleague sporting a Turkish uniform in the corridors of an EU CSDP Mission is not an everyday sight. Nevertheless, with Turkey being one of the three Third Contributing Countries to EUPOL COPPS, we are fortunate to have our dear colleague Ozkan in our midst. Always with a ready smile, Ozkan’s friendly approach is never failing. Despite his years of experience, Ozkan’s humility makes him an asset within the Mission, and we are fortunate to call him a colleague and friend.
Tell us a little about yourself (nationality, professional background and experience and expertise)
My name is Ozkan Baran and I am a National Police Officer from Turkiye. My rank is 2nd Degree Police Chief Superintend or Police Colonel. I have been a member of the Police Advisory Section at EUPOL COPPS since June 2022, where I am the Police Adviser for Planning and Policy. Turkiye is one of the third contributing countries to this Mission, together with Norway and Canada. I have more than 26 years of policing experience, both at the national and international levels. I managed many administrative and judicial responsibilities back in my country. On the international scene, I have been posted within the United Nations Missions in Kosovo and in Haiti and the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and at the Turkish Embassy in Bangkok/Thailand. I have much experience on combating against human trafficking, drugs, illicit goods and weapons; armed robbery; counterfeit and money laundering and serious/organized/transborder crime investigations as well as planning and capacity building areas.
I am currently the only Turkish Police Officer working in the mission area. I am very proud of being here in the Palestinian Territories and assisting the Palestinian Police both in their present responsibilities as well as in preparation for their future. Something that makes me very happy is the warm welcome of both our local counterparts as well as the Palestinian population, which certainly makes my work more pleasant.
Explain your portfolio here at EUPOL COPPS
Within the Police Advisory Section, I am the Police Adviser for Planning and Policy. Essentially, this means that my role is to assist the Palestinian Police improve the safety and security of the Palestinian population, as well as to support the Palestinian Civil Police reform and development, not least by contributing to the PCP Strategic Plan for the coming years.
What are the challenges you face, and how, in your view, may they be overcome?
I am very happy to be here and working with very professional Mission Members from EU Countries. Working with different colleagues hailing from varied cultural understanding and different working habits of law enforcement only serves to enrich my experience. The Mission is taking an important role to make the Palestinian Territories more stable and secure and also to improve the Institutions under Palestinian ownership. I am here to support them in assisting in the building of their institutions. Being part of this Mission is a great opportunity and I enjoy all my time working with my international colleagues and Palestinian counterparts, in addition to enjoying the close and warm relationship with the Palestinian citizens during our activities.
What do you enjoy most about forming part of EUPOL COPPS, and about working in the Region?
I consider myself fortunate not to face many serious challenges during the daily execution of my responsibilities. Of course, being far from home and my family sometimes causes a degree of stress, as expected. However, the plus side is that, these days, long distance communication has definitely made our lives easier. A special thanks goes to my wife for always handling all kinds of challenges back home, in my absence. I would like to end by wishing all the very best to my local counterparts and Palestinian citizens, as well as a safe and secure return back home to all my international colleagues.
PPIO: Ozkan, many thanks for taking the time to grant us this interview. Your positive approach and outlook are undoubtedly examples for all of us to follow!