As well as being a main destination country, Turkey plays a key role as a country of transit for migrants moving towards EU countries. In November 2015, IOM responded to the growing need for humanitarian support along the Aegean coast by creating mobile teams ready to work alongside the Turkish Coast Guard in Dikili, Çeşme and Küçükkuyu, made up of interpreters, field assistants and social workers.

Mobile teams provide interpretation assistance, food and non-food items (NFIs) like blankets and dry clothes, psychosocial support (PSS) including counselling on legal rights and available services, recreational activities with children and also identify and refer vulnerable migrants with specific needs. Additionally, food and NFI assistance is provided to TCG premises in Kuşadası, Ayvalık and Aliağa or other locations as necessary. IOM also provides equipment requested by the TCG, Police and Gendarmerie, such as tarpaulin tents, outdoor heaters and prefabricated cabins.

Coast Guard Support

IOM also coordinates with the coastguard 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 in areas that will support safe, orderly and regular migration and the humane treatment of migrants. Examples include effective phone communication during emergency calls, International Migration Law and human rights workshops.

IOM will continue working with the TCG, DGMM as well as other relevant institutions, such as the Land Forces, the Turkish National Police (TNP), Gendarmerie, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Ministry of Health and Justice on inter-institutional cooperation and 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.

Following the 2015 Mediterranean Crisis, it was also clear that urgent and substantial support for the Turkish Coast Guard was needed to protect the lives of migrants in terms of life-saving equipment. To do so, IOM has so far funded and procured six life-saving vessels which have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, staffed by the Turkish Coast guard. IOM Turkey plans to continue its support to the Turkish Coast Guard and affiliate organizations in all areas.

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