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IOM Turkey was established in 1991 in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and currently has two business offices. The primary office was opened in Ankara in 1991 and a subsidiary office was established in Istanbul and began operations in 1994.
On 16 November 1995, the Turkish Government and the IOM signed a bilateral agreement setting forth the legal status, privileges and immunities of IOM and its offices in Turkey.
The Republic of Turkey became a full member of IOM in November 2004.
IOM Turkey works closely with the United Nations and its entire suite of affiliated agencies resident in Turkey.
Migration is a major social and demographic issue for Turkey in today’s chaotic regional and world environment. Because of its geographical location bridging Asia and Europe, Turkey is one of the main destination countries affected by illegal trafficking in human beings Furthermore, because Turkey enjoys a relatively higher level of prosperity compared to neighboring countries in the region, it has been especially affected by major migration and refugee flows over the last decade, a decade characterized by global economic problems.
IOM Turkey’s primary objective is to support the Turkish Government’s efforts to establish an effective, human rights oriented approach to Turkey’s regional migration challenges in order to combat irregular migration and illegal trafficking in human beings. The magnitude and complexity of these challenges call for an integrated approach to migration management that requires coordination of national efforts, cooperation with regional partners, and joint efforts with countries of origin and transit. Thus, a related objective of IOM Turkey is to provide research, advocacy and technical expertise for managing these complex migration challenges. To pursue and accomplish its objectives in this context, IOM Turkey operates in areas of emergency refugee assistance, assisted voluntary return and almost every major aspect of migration management, including but not limited to promoting legal migration, migrant health and harnessing remittances.
Focus Areas for Projects in Turkey
In view of the afore-described migration challenges, IOM Turkey has focused on the following areas in which to provide support and assistance to the Turkish Government: