İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer, hosted Philippe Leclerc, Turkey Representative of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR) in his office.
An agreement text for enhancing cooperation between İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and UNCHR and increasing activities for improving social cohesion was signed at the meeting where refugee issues and rights were discussed.
Stating his satisfaction with the visit, İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer noted, “We are trying our best. However, what we do is not enough, we will strive to do even more. We established an Urban Justice and Equality Branch Directorate. The directorate was founded to ensure that every resident of İzmir can benefit from urban rights equally and fairly. The Refugee Desk established under the Urban Justice and Equality Branch Directorate in order to ensure equal access to urban services and equal opportunities for refugees living in the province of İzmir commenced its activities as of September 2020. The Refugee Desk acts a bridge between different units of the Municipality and refugees and cooperates with various units of the Municipality, non-profit organizations, international organizations, district municipalities and public institutions to remove obstacles in delivering services to refugees.”
UNHCR’s Turkey Representative Philippe Leclerc underlined that İzmir has undersigned crucial work for refugees and that they appreciate all such efforts. “Turkey, especially İzmir, has a tradition of hospitality. Municipalities are the closest institutions to humans. They can do the best for both the refugees and the public and we can work together. This would be a cooperation that everyone will benefit from,” said Leclerc.
Multilingual service at HİM
The agreement text and the protocol renewed for enhancing access of refugees to urban services and supporting co-existence culture aims to create employment for staff to offer multilingual service for refugees to access the Hometown Communication Centre (HİM) and to ensure continuity of the activities of the Refugee Desk.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality General Secretary Dr. Buğra Gökçe, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Assistant General Secretary Ertuğrul Tugay, İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Consultant Onur Eryüce, Foreign Affairs Office President Gökçe Başkaya, Social Projects Office President Anıl Kaçar, Urban Justice and Equality Branch Manager Yelda Şimşir, UNHCR İzmir Field Office Manager Taylan Dağcı, UNHCR İzmir Field Office Social-Based Protection Oficer Ezgi Ergenç and UNHCR Turkey Spokesperson Selin Ünal attended the meeting.