• Emrah Ozesen | Communications Specialist

Ankara – To commemorate International Migrants Day this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) showcased its response efforts following the February earthquakes in Türkiye and Northwest Syria, through a photo exhibition. The exhibition, held annually under different themes since 2018, stood out this year with the theme "Rebuilding Together: The Road to Recovery." 

The photographs compiled for this year’s exhibition narrated the stories of individuals affected by earthquakes, depicting their struggles and contributions to the recovery process. The featured images include individuals returning to the workforce after receiving assistance, women engaging in production through cooperatives, psychosocial support for children, contributions to healthcare services, and more. Ten months following the devastating earthquakes, the exhibition highlighted that harmonious coexistence between affected migrant and host communities is key to recovery. 

The opening of the exhibition took place on 13 December at CerModern in Ankara and, subsequently, in Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep on 15 December. The exhibition comprised 37 photographs by IOM photographers – Ahmet Abdülhamit, Begüm Başaran, Cansın Bakırcıoğlu, Emrah Özesen, Enver Muhammed, Gamze Adlı, Olga Borzenkova,  Enver Muhammed, Utku Şenbayrak.

Attendees purchase goods and products by IOM-supported cooperatives who came from Adana, Hatay and Kilis to participate in a mini-fair as part of the photo exhibition opening. Photo: IOM/Anıl Bahsi

During the launch in Ankara, Mr. Gerard Karl Waite, IOM Türkiye Chief of Mission, reminded the audience that 23 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 December as International Migrants Day. He emphasized the potential of migrants to contribute to socioeconomic development and growth.

Gerard Karl Waite, IOM Türkiye Chief of Mission, delivering a speech at the exhibition's opening. Photo: IOM/Emrah Ozesen

Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, UN Resident Coordinator in  Türkiye, expressed his pleasure in celebrating International Migrants Day in Türkiye for the first time. He acknowledged that the term "migration" often unfairly sparks debates in many countries and discussed how, this year, the country witnessed firsthand the intersection of migration and disaster.

Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, UN Resident Coordinator in Türkiye, delivering a speech at the exhibition's opening. Photo: IOM/Emrah Ozesen

During the reception held in Gaziantep, Lance Bonneau, IOM Head of Sub-Office, emphasized in his welcoming remarks the significance of inclusion. He stated that by ensuring no one is left behind and by leveraging the benefits of well-managed migration,  Türkiye can rebuild together. In the face of challenges, he called for collaborative action to foster a truly cohesive society, where individuals can not only overcome obstacles but also thrive while enjoying their rights.

Lance Bonneau opens IOM Türkiye's photo exhibition "Road to Recovery: Rebuilding Together" on the occasion of International Migrants Day at Zeugma Museum in Gaziantep. Photo: IOM/Mehmet Boran

The exhibitions also featured a trailer for the documentary on the same team, currently being prepared by IOM Türkiye, scheduled for release in February 2024. The documentary aims to provide a broader perspective on collaborative efforts during the recovery process.