ISTANBUL – 19 November 2018 – The official launch event was held in Istanbul for the “Opportunities for Lives” Project funded by the European Union, implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) under the general coordination of the Directorate-General for International Labour Force of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS), with some activities jointly undertaken with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The launch ceremony was honoured by Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of EU Delegation to Turkey; Mr. Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey; Mr. Lado Gvilava, Chief of Mission IOM Turkey; and Mr. Saadettin Akyıl, Director-General of International Labour Force of MoFLSS.
- Director of the ILO Office for Turkey Özcan: “Every person has the right to work under decent conditions.”
Underlining that the world has been going through painful experience in huge injustices, inequalities and migration at this speech at the event, Mr. Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey, stated: “What we aim in this Project is more than a search for social justice. Every person, woman and man, has the right to work creatively, freely, fairly, safely under decent conditions. Opportunities are of utmost importance particularly for refugees and migrants.”
Noting that many refugees presently work or look for work, Özcan added:
“Employment is one of the most serious problems in countries receiving large refugees influx. Therefore, it is essential to create jobs both for host communities and for those under temporary protection. Thereby, refugees will contribute to the host economy, both being a part of the labour force and having an aim in life. On the issue of fair wages and other adversities in employment, ILO and other organisations are work both to support host countries and enable refugees to be self-sufficient. We see that the international community is eager for socio-economic support.”
- Chief of Mission IOM Turkey Gvilava: “We support labour market governance”
Mr. Lado Gvilava, Chief of Mission IOM Turkey, emphasised the importance of the Project for Syrians under temporary protection in cooperation of Turkey and ILO which would enable Syrians to participate in the labour force.
Pointing that Syrians must integrate if they were to contribute to the Turkish society and economy, Gvilava said:
“The demonstrate their skills in countries to which they migrate, and are ready to make up for the deficits in the labour market. Through their entrepreneurial spirit, they even create their own job opportunities. We first expect to accurately match the skills to support the labour market. Second is to promote opportunities to create jobs. In addition, we want to create entrepreneurship opportunities both for host communities and Syrians. We support labour market governance within the framework of development processes.”
- Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Berger: “We must assist them in the short term, offer reasonable jobs and opportunities.”
The Head of EU Delegation to Turkey Ambassador Christian Berger stressed the importance of the “Opportunities for Lives” Project, and thanked all those who laboured.
Ambassador Berger indicated that EU would continue to support Syrian citizens living in Turkey and said: “EU is discussing to provide another 3 billion Euros to the Turkish Government. Negotiations are underway on what needs to be done. We are switching from humanitarian assistance to socio-economic assistance. Accordingly, we are about to sign the ‘second round’ of projects.”
Reminding that Turkey and EU have been in close collaboration to end the tragedy persisting for 8 years in Syria, Berger said: “Turkey and EU have for long been cooperating to find a solution to this conflict. Now, should we continue with the present work, humanitarian assistance, our support? Should we maintain this model, or take a step further? I wonder if we should ensure socio-economic integration and enable people to stand on their own feet? Should we enable them to look after their families and at the same time contribute to social development?
We must assist them in the short term, offer reasonable jobs and opportunities. When we look at Syrian refugees, a large part is in the working age. Therefore, we should create opportunities for them, particularly entrepreneurship. We should enable them to stand on their own feet.”
- Berger: " We are switching from humanitarian assistance to socio-economic assistance”
Noting that Syrians living in Turkey could contribute to the Turkish economy, Berger stated that political circles in Turkey had a consensus on this matter. Point out to the fact that EU was supporting Turkey in assisting Syrians, Berger continued:
“We provide their basic needs. For example, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) delivers cash aid to 1.4 million people in need. EU will surely continue its support to Turkey. We enable refugees to get into work life by recognising their skills, seeing their potential. We highly care about the local projects undertaken in cities where large Syrian communities live.”
Relating that EU provides support in various forms to Turkey collaborating with NGOs supporting refugees and other relevant international organisations, Berger said: “EU’s first round of support involves 3 billion Euros. Currently, 72 projects are underway. We work on three major areas: One is education, for which we are assisting the Turkish Government. We help all children in this country have access to education.”
Berger continued: ““EU is discussing to provide another 3 billion Euros to the Turkish Government. Negotiations are underway on what needs to be done. We are switching from humanitarian assistance to socio-economic assistance. Accordingly, we are about to sign the ‘second round’ of projects. Of course, education will be at the top of this assistance. Then comes healthcare. At the end of this week, we will sign an agreement in Brussels for another aid of 400 million Euros for the education sector.”
- Director-General of International Labour Force of MoFLSS Akyıl: “Access to labour market facilitated for Syrians”
Mr. Saadettin Akyıl, Director-General of International Labour Force of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services indicated that the work undertaken for Syrians living in Turkey increased every year.
Noting that the Ministry has been involved in the process since the very beginning to manage the Syrian refugee crisis and issued various regulations, Akyıl said: “We as the Ministry keep working on the access to labour markets of Syrians under temporary protection. We take due account of labour peace and social peace as well in the process. Our efforts since 2011 have initially focused on social assistance, but as the process has prolonged and refugees have become permanent in Turkey, have made efforts to facilitate their access to labour markets.”
- About the Project
Taking off with “More Opportunities, Better Lives”, the Project aims to increase economic and social resilience of Turkish citizens and Syrians under temporary protection. The Project is expected to contribute to sectoral development and increased production output through providing human resources needed in the identified sectors.
Under the full title “Job Creation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Turkey”, the Project will run for 24 months, delivering vocational, entrepreneurship and awareness training and promoting entrepreneurship through incentives in the target provinces identified as Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa, Konya, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin and Hatay.
The Project’s primary target group includes Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish citizens including particularly youth and women. Public agencies at central and provincial level, municipalities, workers’ and employers’ organisations are also in the target group. The Project plans to reach out 13,000 Syrians under temporary protection, 5,000 Turkish citizens, 350 public officials from relevant agencies, 500 representatives and 500 businesses from workers’ and employers’ organisations as social partners.