The International Organization for Migration (IOM) first opened its offices in Turkey in 1991 following the aftermath of the Gulf War. IOM’s partnership with the Republic of Turkey was formalized in November 2004 when Turkey was granted member status to IOM. The partnership between IOM and Turkey continued since then, including support drafting the Law of Foreigners and International Protection, as well as establishing the Ministry of Interior’s Directorate General for Migration Management in 2013.
Now in its 29th year of operations in Turkey, the mission addresses the full scope of migration issues, supporting and developing government capacity to manage migration.
Initially focusing its attention on resettlement for Iraqi refugees in the 1990s, IOM Turkey later expanded in response to the devastating earthquake of 2011 in Van to include emergency response programmes. The mission’s emergency response programmes have continued to grow rapidly since 2012 and 2015 with the start of the Syrian crisis and the Mediterranean crisis.
Alongside IOM’s role in addressing the needs of migrants during crises, the mission works in close collaboration with the Government of Turkey to address the longer-term impact of migration, including migrant assistance programmes, labour integration and migration management, immigration and border management and research and data collection on migrant movement.
Our resettlement programme has also grown to play an important role in the process of resettling refugees abroad through cultural orientation, medical checks and flight arrangements to third countries.
With almost 30 years of operational experience in Turkey, the Mission is now one of the largest globally and has more than 1,200 staff working across the country, with sub-offices in Istanbul, Gaziantep, Hatay, Sanliurfa and Izmir and head office in Ankara.
- Chief of Mission
Mr. Gerard Karl Waite assumed the position of Chief of Mission, IOM Turkey, in September 2021. Mr. Waite has 24 years of experience in migration management. His prior experience with IOM includes serving as Chief of Mission in Iraq, Somalia, Uganda, and South Sudan. In addition, he held various positions at IOM Sudan, including Darfur Regional Coordinator in Khartoum, Head of Sub-Office in El-Fashir, and Protection Officer in Nyala. Prior to joining IOM, Mr. Waite served as Program Officer at Transparency International in Germany, Program Coordinator at the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and Refugee Support Officer at the Scottish Refugee Council in Scotland.
Mr. Waite holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Anthropology and master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh, and a master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of London.