With over 2,600 km (1,615mi) of land borders and a coastline that spans 7,200 km (4,500 mi), the government of Turkey has increasingly called upon IOM Turkey to assist in addressing complex and multifaceted border management challenges. Turkey’s unique geographic position straddling Europe and Asia has contributed to it increasing role as both a destination country and a transit country for migrants and refugees to reach Europe. Bordering countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Bulgaria and Greece, Turkey has over 30 land border crossing points.
With the increasing mobility of persons and goods, countries need to address the challenge of ensuring the right balance between open, but at the same time secured and controlled borders. In order to respond to this challenge, the concept of “Integrated Border Management” is the foundation of IOM Turkey’s Immigration and Border Management Strategy. “Integrated Border Management” was developed by the European Commission as the key European border management strategy. It requires that all competent authorities work together effectively and efficiently. Integrated Border Management seeks to address three levels of cooperation and coordination: intra-service cooperation, inter-agency cooperation and international cooperation.
Regional cooperation is critical to effective border management. In this context, IOM Turkey facilitates cross border programs to increase cooperation and capacity for Turkish, Greek and Bulgarian border officials at the national, regional and the local level. Joint trainings, workshops and study tours build regional capacity on:
- enhancing cross-border cooperation,
- return and readmission practices,
- investigation techniques and methodologies to combat irregular migration,
- human trafficking, and
- detecting forged travel documents.
These capacity building activities also include segments on joint risk analysis, identification of stolen vehicles, joint and coordinated patrolling and common contact centres.
Since 2005, IOM Turkey’s Border Management team has worked with local border management authorities to strengthen technical expertise, infrastructure and cooperation among Turkey’s border agencies. IOM Turkey’s border management projects aim to further develop legal, institutional and managerial structures and capacities to support the government of Turkey in strengthening border management policies and structures in line with international best practices.