On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day.

Some people living in Turkey are Migrants who have chosen to move to another country to retire, improve their lives, for family reunions, for education purposes or other reasons. Their decision to move here was a choice and not a necessity.

Many are not so fortunate

Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries.

There were 21.3 million of them worldwide at the end of 2015. For the second consecutive year, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 2.5 million people Source UNHCR Global Trends

International Migrants day in Turkey

On Monday 19th December a conference was held in Ankara to mark International Migrants Day. The conference was organised by the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), part of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior.

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The event

The first part of the evening was a meeting that was attended by officials from all over Turkey.

The meeting was attended by officials from all over Turkey
The meeting was attended by officials from all over Turkey

Sebahattin Öztürk, the Deputy Minister of the Interior (İçişleri Bakanlığı Bakan Yardımcısı) and Attila Toros, the Director General (Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürü) of the DGMM. gave speeches highlighting the work being done to welcome foreigners into Turkey and provide housing and support.

Sebahattin Öztürk, the Deputy Minister of the Interior
Sebahattin Öztürk, the Deputy Minister of the Interior

Some of the Migrants attending were presented with gifts

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Gifts being presented by Sebahattin Öztürk

Sand artist (Kum sanatçısı) Ömer Faruk Elmas performed a thought provoking sand art show.

Ömer Faruk Elmas from fethiyetimes on Vimeo.

The second part of the evening was an exhibition with stands from all over Turkey explaining how migrants have integrated into their local communities.

Muğla Governorship (Muğla Valiliği)

The Muğla Governorship had a stand with representatives from Muğla, Bodrum and Fethiye. There was information about the different areas of the region, samples of some of the local produce including oranges, honey and Turkish Delight (Lokum) as well as examples from the foreign residents of some the projects they are involved in within their communities.

The team from Muğla (left to right)- Lyn Ward (Fethiye), Monad Elohim (Bodrum), Recep Batu (Provincial Director of Immigration - Muğla), Hans - Jürgen Louven (Muğla), Medet Sazak (Provincial Assistant Migration Expert - Fethiye)
The team from Muğla (left to right)- Lyn Ward (Fethiye), Monad Elohim (Bodrum), Recep Batu (Provincial Director of Immigration – Muğla), Hans – Jürgen Louven (Muğla), Medet Sazak (Provincial Assistant Migration Expert – Fethiye)
Visitors to the Muğla stand having a photograph with Monad, Hans and Ekrem Aylanç, Lieutenant Governor (Vali Yardımcısı) - Muğla
Visitors to the Muğla stand having a photograph with Monad, Hans and Ekrem Aylanç, Lieutenant Governor (Vali Yardımcısı) – Muğla

Some of the many other stands

Migrants from many countries attended, either as part of the teams manning the stands or as attendees. It was an evening of information giving, meeting new people and sharing experiences.

Tömer, the language school from Ankara University
Tömer, the language school from Ankara University
İzmir Valiliği
İzmir Valiliği
Aydın Valiliği
Aydın Valiliği

VIP visits

The Protokol visited the stands, chatting and enjoying a moment of camaraderie with those who have chosen Turkey as their adopted home, as well as those who have found a refuge here after suffering intolerable hardships.

Sebahattin Öztürk enjoying a chat at the Antalya stand
Sebahattin Öztürk enjoying a chat at the Antalya stand
Atilla Toros sharing a joke whilst having his portrait sketched
Atilla Toros sharing a joke whilst having his portrait sketched

The one thing that every Migrant, whatever their story, had in common was their happiness and thankfulness to be in Turkey.

The Muğla team would like to thank Ekrem Aylanç and Recep Batu for their hospitality throughout the event

The Muğla team enjoying lunch
The Muğla team enjoying lunch

Lastly…

We couldn’t leave without giving you a glimpse of the wonderfully icy weather in Ankara

The view from the hotel - Mogan Lake frozen over
The view from the hotel – Mogan Lake frozen over

 

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