As well as being a main destination country, Türkiye plays a key role as a country of transit for migrants moving towards EU countries or to other destinations. In November 2015, IOM responded to the growing need for humanitarian support along the Aegean coast and Western land borders by creating mobile teams ready to work alongside the Turkish Coast Guard in different localities in the Marmara region, made up of interpreters, medical staff and social workers.

Mobile teams provide interpretation assistance, medical first aid, food and non-food items (NFIs) like blankets and dry clothes, psychosocial support (PSS) and other services depending on the individual situation of migrants. Additionally, food and NFI assistance is provided to migration management authorities as well as Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) premises in Kuşadası, Ayvalık and Aliağa or other locations as necessary. IOM also provides equipment requested by the TCG, PMM, Police and Gendarmerie, such as tarpaulin tents, outdoor heaters and prefabricated cabins.

Coast Guard Support

IOM also coordinates with the Coast Guard and the Presidency of Migration Management (PMM) to address the most significant needs of migrants at sea. This has taken the form of training, workshops and equipment.

IOM regularly trains Coast Guard staff along with other law enforcement personnel, as well as PMM, in areas that will support safe, orderly and regular migration and human rights standards applicable at borders. Examples include effective phone communication during emergency calls, international migration law and human rights workshops.

Following the 2015 Mediterranean Crisis, it was also clear that urgent and substantial support for the TCG was needed to protect the lives of migrants in terms of life-saving equipment. To do so, IOM procured 15 life-saving vessels which have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, staffed by the TCG.

IOM will continue working with the TCG, PMM as well as other relevant institutions, such as the Land Forces, the Turkish National Police (TNP), Gendarmerie, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, and Ministry of Health and Justice on inter-institutional coordination, to ensure that migrants receive proper care immediately after they have been rescued at sea and are referred to specialized authorities for further assistance.

For more information on IOM’s global response to the Mediterranean Crisis, click here.