Harmonization and Social Cohesion Across Turkey Programme- Kick-Off Meeting

Harmonization and Social Cohesion across Turkey Programme- Kick-off Meeting. Photo: IOM

Ankara – Representatives from the European Union Delegation to Turkey, Deputy Director-General of Migration Management and IOM, gathered for the launch of a new EU-funded programme that aims to support the harmonization of migrants and host communities in line with Turkey’s National Action Plan on Harmonization and EU approaches. 

The “Harmonization and Social Cohesion Programme Across Turkey” kicked off with the participation of partners, government officials, and members of the international community. In line with the COVID-19 restrictions, some of the participants joined the event with video messages including European Union Head of Delegation Ambassador H.E. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said: “This project will help address the consequences of the Syrian conflict and increased migratory pressure for Turkey by building on the capacity of Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management and in particular its provincial directorates and local public institutions at the municipal level. The EU focus is progressively shifting towards inclusion and self-reliance taking into account also the needs of the local communities. In general terms, social cohesion aims at peaceful coexistence. Turkey’s inclusive response to the Syrian refugee crisis, coupled with the society’s welcoming attitude, constitutes the backbone of social cohesion in Turkey” 

In 2020, Turkey continues to be the largest host to refugees in the world, and the migrant population seeking residence in Turkey is increasing. According to the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), there are currently more than 4 million foreign nationals present in the Turkish territory and most of them came from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Somalia.

IOM Regional Director Renate Held also sent a video message to send her congratulations on the launch of the project. She said: “The backgrounds, goals, and needs of the migrants will differ greatly, which may be challenging for the receiving community. Therefore, the needs and wishes of the Turkish people also have to be taken into account equally. Under these circumstances, nuanced and context-specific solutions are needed: by building the capacity of public services to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population – at the same time – by harmonizing approaches both vertically and horizontally.”

Dr. Gökçe OK, Deputy Director-General of Migration Management said in his remarks, “Migration is a very dynamic process. Besides the constructive and destructive effects, it has its opportunity dimension as well and smart people look for opportunities; and when you are able to manage the crisis, you will never be afraid of that. Therefore, Turkey has been the country that hosts the highest number of asylum seekers in the world compared to the population, relatively since 2014.”

The project is made possible with the generous contribution of the EU. Over the next 15 months, the project will be covering a wide range of activities, from facilitating migrants‘ access to services and rights to building the capacity of DGMM, provincial directorates, and local authorities as well as piloting innovative activities to promote social cohesion.  Each activity will be closely organized with DGMM and local authorities.

Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey’s Chief of Mission attended and said: “We are here today because of a successful partnership between IOM and DGMM. We have worked closely together over the past year for this project to make today a reality. Strong multilateral partnerships make a lasting difference and achieve results. Today we are excited to launch a new example of this partnership with this Kick-off Meeting.

IOM has worked in cooperation with the Turkish government to share its technical expertise through various projects under its integration department. In collaboration with the Directorate-General for Migration Management (DGMM), IOM continues to facilitate the integration of migrants and refugees living in Turkey.
This project will add to IOM’s expertise in this area and ensure adherence to EU standards related to addressing diversity, inclusion, and social cohesion. The project also benefits from the considerable knowledge and experience of DGMM who has an important role in the project to implement the central strategy held within the national action plan on harmonization and ensure its sustainability in the future.