New Social Cohesion Initiative to Promote Inclusive Migration Management in Turkey

New Social Cohesion Initiative to Promote Inclusive Migration Management in Turkey. Photo: IOM

Ankara – As 2020 comes to an end, Turkey continues to be the largest host to refugees in the world. There are four million foreign nationals present in the country and numbers are rising. Most come from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Somalia.

A new project has been launched, funded by the European Union (EU) and to be managed jointly by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM). It seeks to build social cohesion and inclusion as migrants and refugees integrate into Turkish society.

The initiative, worth EUR 11 million, is funded by the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (EU IcSP), and is supporting Turkey’s National Action Plan on Harmonization. The action plan contains objectives for employment, health, education, social policies, orientation, and social aid. The official launch in Ankara last week was held partly online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In a video message, the EU Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut sounded a note of high optimism: “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 local public institutions. The EU focus is progressively shifting towards inclusion and self-reliance considering also the needs of the local communities. In general terms, social cohesion aims at promoting inclusion and integrated communities. Turkey’s inclusive response to the Syrian refugee crisis, coupled with the society’s welcoming attitude, constitutes the backbone of social cohesion in Turkey.”

IOM’s Regional Director Renate Held, speaking from Vienna, highlighted the importance of the action at local level: “Nuanced and context-specific solutions are needed: building the capacity of public services to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population, harmonizing approaches both vertically and horizontally.”

Over the next 15 months, IOM will be coordinating and implementing a wide range of activities: facilitating migrants’ access to services and rights, building the capacity of DGMM, provincial directorates and local authorities, and piloting innovative activities to promote social cohesion. 

For DGMM. Dr. Gökçe Ok, noted: “Migration is a very dynamic process. It has its opportunity dimension as well, and smart people look for the opportunities”.

For more information, please contact Gamze Adli, Email: