The fifth of Harmonization Meetings, which started in Antalya and continued in Alanya, İzmir and Ankara and where the information about the rights and obligations of the foreigners had been passed on, was held in Gaziantep on Friday, 11 January 2019. The participants consisting of craft and related trades workers were informed about the rights and obligations of foreigners and the processes of their participation in the labour market.
In the meeting, Mr. Halil UYUMAZ, Deputy Governor of Gaziantep; Mr. Dr. Gökçe OK, Deputy Director General; Mr. Dr. Aydın Keskin KADIOĞLU, Head of Harmonization and Communications Department; Mr. Prof. Dr. Ali GÜR, Rector of Gaziantep University; Mr. Ömer KÜSBEOĞLU, Head of Gaziantep Union of Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen; Mr. Murat ATİLLA, Provincial Director of Migration Management; Mr. Hakkı Onur ARIER, National Project Officer of International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and many guests took part.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Mr. Dr. Gökçe OK, Deputy Director General, highlighted that the people who are mostly encountered by Syrians in Turkey are crafts and related trades workers, and this event was organized to seek solutions to their problems by stating that they organized harmonization meetings in order to solve the problems in the field. Mr. Gökçe OK, our Deputy Director General, also stated in his speech: “You can be sure that we will see the migration as an opportunity and bring the coast to safety with reason and knowledge. We follow the horizon of Mr. Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, our esteemed President and Mr. Süleyman Soylu, our Minister of Interior. The Ministry of Interior's Security, Gendarmerie, Coast Guard Command, the intelligence units and the Directorate General of Migration Management work on a 24/7 basis and we are ambitious and determined to put these works into your service together with the partner institutions of our State.”
In his speech, Mr. Aydın Keskin KADIOĞLU, Head of Harmonization and Communications Department said: “Our country, which has opened its door to everyone who has taken refuge throughout its history, is not contented with this and extends its aid against all kinds of cruelties experienced in all areas of the world without staying silent by force of its conscientious responsibility, has not either remained silent against the humanitarian drama experienced in Syria in 2011.”
Underlying the fact that Turkey has become a home for the people fleeing from Syria by banding together with its all citizens and opening the door of their hearts, Mr. KADIOĞLU said: “It is our humanitarian and religious as well as historical responsibility to reach out to Syrians with whom we struggled shoulder to shoulder in the Battle of Gallipoli and shared the same culture, history and religion during the Ottoman Empire period.”
As for Mr. Murat Atilla, Gaziantep Provincial Director of Migration Management, he stated that there are many Syrians living in Gaziantep and said: “Many Syrians are also in working life. This is one of the most important reasons why our city is preferred by the Syrians. The burdens imposed on us by Syrians cannot be ignored, besides they also contribute to us, as you know. There are many Syrians who have an investment in our province, and our tradesmen know this very well. The presence of 4200 students from 108 different countries is a great wealth for us. Syrians will return to their lands when there is peace in their countries but some of them will stay in our country and contribute to us. Nearly 300 thousand Syrians have returned to their country.
Speaking in the program and stating that migration is an extremely complex and multidimensional phenomenon, Mr. Hakkı Onur ARIER, ICMPD National Project Officer, said: "Today Turkey sets an example not only for the region but also for the world about how to deal with mass migration flows and how to manage migration. Among these successful people, there exist the State on one side and our chambers and employers on the other side.”
As for Mr. Prof. Dr. Ali GÜR, Rector, he said that urban legends about the Syrians are circulating and clarified that “We have now accepted Syrians, how can we harmonize with them now, that is the issue we are talking about. While we were expecting them to return to their country, we understood that some of them will return and some of them will not return. If we perceive migration as a problem, the problem gets bigger. We made great sacrifices as Gaziantep. In the survey we have carried out, 56 percent of them wants to return, 44 percent of them seems to be permanent. The age average of the returnees is high. Young people don't want to go back. There are so many urban legends about Syrians that you'll be surprised. We have the largest hospital of the region. They say Syrians benefit from the services for free of charge, no, they say that Syrians are taken to the front line, no priority. They are not accepted to the universities without examination. They are accepted by international examination system. Quota does not change.”
In the meeting where the business people and tradesmen in Gaziantep attended, the audience was informed about the laws and procedures regarding the participation of foreign employees in the labour market. Many institutions such as Chamber of Industry, Chamber of Commerce, Union of Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen, Labour and Employment Agency, Social Security Institution, Tax Office and Provincial Directorates of Migration Management made presentations on the services they provide according to their areas of responsibility.
The meeting held under the coordination of our Directorate General and with the cooperation of Gaziantep Provincial Directorate of Migration Management and International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) ended after the evaluation session.