Civil Society Refugee Response in Turkey amid COVID-19

Event Details

When: December 10, 2020 • 8:30 am – 10:00 am EST

Where: Online Only

In collaboration with the European Union-Turkey Forum, the Research Centre on Asylum and Migration (İGAM), and the Migration Research Program (METUMIR), HasNa is pleased to present this opportunity for dialogue between multiple stakeholders working to strengthen civil society’s response to refugees in Turkey amid COVID-19. Comprising voices from academia, EU policy development, the local and international humanitarian aid sectors, and refugee-led organizations, this session will reflect on the challenges and risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic to refugee and host communities in the Turkish context while exploring the role of CSOs in refugee response interventions. In the end, we hope to draw lessons from the COVID-19 period to strengthen cooperation between local and international actors, to provide feedback on the overall effectiveness of EU policies targeting refugees in Turkey, and ultimately to inform the future of international and local refugee response efforts in Turkey.

Civil Society Refugee Response in Turkey amid COVID-19

Opening Remarks

Metin Çorabatır, Research Centre on Asylum and Migration (İGAM), President

Laura Batalla Adam, EU-Turkey Forum, Secretary General

Keynote Speech

Tineke Strik, Greens/EFA Member of European Parliament, Vice-Chair EU-Turkey Forum

Panel Discussion


Dr. Başak Kale, Middle East Technical University, Chair of European Studies & Coordinator of METUMIR


Rukmini Banerjee, HasNa, President

Libor Chlad, Head of Section, Facility for Refugees in Turkey, Delegation of the EU to Turkey

Nuha Boğa Çam, Embark Project, Program Director

Ravda Nur Cuma, Ravdanur Foundation, Founder

Meryem Arslan, OXFAM, Country Director

Coordinating Partners

The EU-Turkey Forum is a cross-party non-partisan group founded in 2010 that promotes high level discussions between MEPs, EU and Turkish officials, decision-makers, experts, civil society and business actors. The leadership of the EU-Turkey Forum is composed of MEP Kris Peeters (EPP), acting as chair, and MEPs Kati Piri (S&D), Urmas Paet (Renew) and Tineke Strik (Greens/EFA) as vice-chairs.

HasNa, founded in 1998, is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that works to facilitate cross-cultural understanding in divided communities in and around Turkey through development and livelihoods training, youth and women’s empowerment projects, and capacity building programs for civil society organizations. This year HasNa launched the Turkey Refugee Response Initiative (TRRI) with a research project focused on the role of Turkish CSOs in responding to refugees amid COVID-19, which is now a part of UNHCR and World Bank’s Joint Data Center Primer on COVID-19 and Forced Displacement. The primary objectives of this initiative are to amplify the voices of frontline aid workers, draw attention to the needs of local civil society organizations, and to promote both domestic and international cooperation among all those working to improve the lives of refugees living in Turkey.

The Research Centre on Asylum and Migration (İGAM) is a financially and politically independent, humanitarian, and non-profit organization established to improve the rights of refugees and migrants, particularly those of undocumented migrants, both in Turkey and across the world. It aspires to become an internationally recognized organization and to contribute to the development of universal asylum and migration values, norms, and principles worldwide. As an 8-year-old organization, İGAM has covered much ground in achieving its objectives and has provided refugee and asylum seekers with services such as protection, psychological support, education, and legal consultations. Beginning as a small research organization, İGAM has gained a Malala Fund Gulmakai Education Champion and has been accredited within the UNHCR’s Annual NGO Consultations. In 2018, the UN Economic and Social Council NGO sub-committee selected İGAM as one of the eight organizations deemed to be implementing “Good Practices in Countering Xenophobia and Discrimination Against Refugees and Migrants”.

METUMIR is the migration research platform of Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara. METUMIR actively involves migration related research and activities under the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Center for European Studies (JMCE CES). It was founded in 2016 by a group of academics and students to engage in migration-focussed research. It is a network of undergraduate and graduate students, academics, experts and independent researchers.