Migration Activities in Türkiye in 2021

Kurum: IOM
Gerard Karl Waite
IOM Türkiye, Chief of Mission

As a member of the humanitarian aid community in Türkiye, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Turkish Red Crescent to improve the cooperation in humanitarian aid. We are proud of the cooperation between IOM and the Turkish Red Crescent, and consider this an indicator of the capacity to work better together.

IOM has been working with Türkiye for more than 30 years to support the current migration management and strategy, and it has been providing humanitarian aid to migrants, refugees and the host communities by conducting activities and projects to meet the needs of the migrants. IOM also continued its activities in various fields in 2021.

Being a crucial element of the humanitarian aid activities of IOM, the Migrant and Refugee Support Program provided aid to more than 500 thousand beneficiaries, especially migrants, refugees, host communities and their families in vulnerable states who experienced the negative impacts of the pandemic. IOM also supported local institutions with its multi-dimensional aid activities including cash assistance, delivery of hygiene and non-food materials, protection and psychosocial support. Moreover, IOM continued to implement different livelihood projects including cash assistance for winter, quick and effective grants, entrepreneurship and innovation training, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and agricultural support as well as projects on school transportation, social stability, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene. 

IOM opened FabLab to support digital production processes at Gaziantep University campus. The center provides an accessible workspace for everyone by sharing information and exchanging experiences in digital technologies. In addition, IOM’s Municipal Migrant and Community Centers in Adana, Ankara, Gaziantep, Mersin and Şanlıurfa continued to operate online and face-to-face services to provide beneficiaries with accurate information, legal and medical referral and consultation.

IOM’s activities in the Mediterranean are important as Türkiye is both a country of transit and destination for migrants. The IOM Türkiye Mediterranean Response Program continued to work with the Turkish Coast Guard Command on the Aegean coast and Turkish gendarmerie and police in certain locations in 2021 to provide humanitarian aid to the rescued migrants. IOM Türkiye mobile teams provided basic aid materials such as food parcels, hygiene kits, and phone cards, and they provided information about psychological first aid, translation services, immigrant rights in Türkiye, the dangers of irregular sea crossings, and so on.

In 2021, the Mediterranean Response Program provided humanitarian aid to nearly 12,000 migrants rescued by the Coast Guard and 600 migrants caught on land by Turkish law enforcement. With the cooperation of the Coast Guard, IOM observed the needs and increased the number of mobile teams in the field. Faced with some difficulties due to the ongoing restrictions within the scope of the fight against the pandemic, the mobile teams continued to deliver humanitarian aid with the support of Türkiye. IOM also distributed masks, gloves, disinfectants, hygiene kits and protective clothing to migrants and coast guard teams, and carried out rehabilitation works in the migrant waiting area in Dikili. 

Within the scope of ongoing aid activities on the northwest border, the IOM mobile team in Edirne continued its activities such as translation services, consultancy, awareness raising, psychological first aid and distribution of humanitarian supplies to law enforcement units. Between January and November 2021, the IOM Edirne Office reached 25,254 migrants and refugees and identified the special needs of these beneficiaries. The team in Edirne detected and referred 51 cases in 2021, 5 of which were family reunification cases referred to the Turkish Red Crescent. IOM also distributed 80,130 food and non-food items to beneficiaries in 2021 in Edirne.

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