Regional and Global Cooperation Essential for Migration Management, Says New IOM Deputy Director General on First Field Visit to Turkey

Posted: 
10/08/2021

Ankara – IOM’s newly appointed Deputy Director General Amy Pope concluded her two-day visit to Turkey. The mission to the region was her first since she assumed her new role as DDG at the beginning of September, and included a two-day visit to Greece.

“Turkey is a leader for countries around the world in how it hosts and provides opportunities for migrants to live better lives and achieve their potential,” DDG Pope said. “IOM is a proud partner to the Government in supporting initiatives that help lift migrants out of poverty and give them hope for a brighter future.”

During her visit, she commended Turkey for its commitment to hosting and providing protection to almost four million migrants and refugees. She visited Ensar Community Centre in Gaziantep, jointly run by Gaziantep Municipality and IOM, and praised it as an example of how Turkey is providing essential services to vulnerable children and families from migrant and host communities. While observing sports, art, computer and language classes for children and adults the DDG said, “this is an encouraging example of how Turkey is cultivating understanding between the diverse groups of migrants that call this country home.”

Turkey currently hosts 3.7 million Syrians and about 330,000 other migrants, many whom are Afghans.

The Deputy Director General’s mission included visits to Ankara and Gaziantep. In Ankara she met with the Deputy Minister of Interior Mr. İsmail Çataklı, Director General for Consular Affairs H.E. Nurdan Erpulat Altuntaş and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation Turkey, Commissioner Eleftheria Pertzinidou. In Gaziantep she visited IOM’s field operations including Ensar Community Center and IOM’s Burc Warehouse – the centre of IOM’s humanitarian cross-border programme for Northwest Syria.

During her high-level meetings in Ankara she emphasized the importance of regional and global cooperation to address the needs of displaced people and migrants and called for greater international assistance for host countries.

The situation in Afghanistan was also a topic of discussions. Pope noted that conditions for all migrants and displaced would become more difficult ahead of the winter months. She called on all IOM member states and all concerned, including donors, to uphold the rights of Afghans to seek asylum.

In Gaziantep she met with Mark Cutts, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for OCHA, IOM’s main partner in providing aid in Northwest Syria. Together with partners from non-governmental organizations, IOM and the UN have reached over one million displaced persons in Northwest Syria with life-saving assistance since the start of the Civil War in 2011

“The ongoing crisis in northwest Syria must continue to be a focus of the international community,” said Pope. “The millions of displaced throughout the country rely on us and we must not leave them behind.”

Pope, a citizen of the United States and former Senior Advisor to President Biden, joined IOM taking office on 1 September as the Deputy Director General for Management and Reform.

***

For more information, contact Lanna Walsh, Public Information Officer & Spokesperson for IOM Turkey lwalsh@iom.int

Joe Lowry, Regional Media and Communications Office and Spokesperson, IOM Regional Office in Vienna jlowry@iom.int