Migration Management Support Through All Aspects

Lado Gvilava
IOM Turkey, Chief of Mission

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) for nearly 30-years has supported development of the Government of Turkey’s capacity to manage migration by addressing all aspects of migration in Turkey. IOM continues the efforts Turkey is conducting on meeting the needs of immigrants, humanitarian aid, workforce integration, migration and border management, and promoting social cohesion between immigrants and host communities by reorganizing them due to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

Even though 2020 has caused disruptions in many fields of activities due to the epidemic, IOM has continued to support immigrant and refugee groups by developing new solutions in areas such as social stability, shelter rehabilitation and sanitation, job placement services, business development trainings, entrepreneurship education, corporate development funds, community-based agriculture, and monetary aid. The Psychosocial Mobile Teams of the Protection and Resilience Unit provide online and face-to-face support through the appropriate measures taken in municipal immigration and community centers in areas such as emergency management, struggling with human trafficking, legal information, and awareness.

IOM Turkey has implemented projects such as grant supports, corporate development and entrepreneurship trainings, and community-based agriculture this year in the scope of the Community Stabilization and Revitalization Programs. For example, a solar-powered fruit and vegetable drying facility was opened in Şanlıurfa to encourage local agricultural activities and to provide employment for Turkish and migrant women; efforts are underway to open nine more facilities in six provinces. 25 projects supporting local governments have been implemented in 10 provinces for the purposes of building up the resilience and self-confidence of populations, improving access to basic services, and strengthening social cohesion. In cooperation with local governments, cash assistance has also been delivered to approximately 16,000 Syrian households under temporary protection who’ve had difficulties meeting their basic needs due to COVID-19 and who have been unable to benefit from the available cash assistance. In order to support local authorities in their struggle against the epidemic, IOM Turkey has provided for needs such as hygiene kits, disinfectants, masks, and disinfection tools in 13 provinces and delivered them to communities in need.

The Protection and Resilience Unit has performed rapid needs analyses in nearly 1,000 households to understand the new needs caused by the epidemic. With travel being restricted due to the pandemic, teams have implemented many projects using online platforms. Emergency management teams have reached people at risk losing shelter and work due to the pandemic.

IOM has continued to provide search and rescue boats and humanitarian aid in 2020 to the Turkish Coast Guard Command in Turkey, which continues to be both a destination and transit point for immigrants. In addition to these efforts, IOM Turkey’s mobile teams provide blankets, food aid, and psychosocial support as well as interpretation and counseling services to the mobile teams in Turkey and migrants rescued at sea. Within IOM’s Mediterranean Response program, food and non-food humanitarian aid has been provided to nearly 10,000 refugees and migrants rescued by the Coast Guard this year. The teams did encounter certain problems delivering aid due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching only those in need through the required precautions and regulations. In addition to current aid, IOM has supported efforts this year to prevent the spread of the pandemic by distributing masks, gloves, disinfectants, and protective clothing to beneficiaries and Coast Guard teams.

Starting field work in Edirne in January 2020, IOM has provided services such as distributing aid materials, interpretations, and consultation to migrants rescued on land and at sea in line with their urgent needs. The teams work in cooperation with the District Gendarmerie, Coast Guard Command, local administrations, and District Police Directorates. IOM has helped more than 10,000 immigrants and refugees in Edirne and distributed more than 60,000 pieces of material. In addition, IOM has guided migrants and refugees with special needs such as legal counseling, medical treatment, family reunification, assisted voluntary return and reintegration, and unaccompanied children to UN agencies, NGOs, and the relevant government agencies. IOM collaborates with the Turkish Red Crescent in family reunification case referrals in the region. The teams in Edirne experienced difficulties in 2020 in managing cases due to momentary and emergency applications; however, they overcame the difficulties by developing effective communications with other institutions and units.

IOM Turkey’s Labour Migration and Human Development Program provides training and job opportunities to immigrant and host communities in collaboration with the General Directorate of International Labor Force. In this context, the SME Empowerment and Support Project has provided grants and consultancy support to 88 SMEs. In the scope of the same program, providing business consultancy services to SMEs in 2021 is aimed for through the module that will be developed in regard to economic risks associated with the pandemic under the guidance of the COVID-19 Response Plan. The Orientation Program for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Job Seekers in the Host Community is among the activities carried out with the aim of facilitating the adaptation process in the labor market. The program has supported the placement of 102 Turkish and Syrian peoples in the textile and packaging industries in İstanbul, Kahramanmaraş, and Şanlıurfa.

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