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Multiple times per year, AER brings together regions, so that they may stand stronger together, and grow in a space of best practice exchange.
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Urban Responses To Refugees: The Case of Gaziantep
25 January 2018 13:00 - 14:00
This event is part of Friends of Europe’s Migration Action initiative, which examines the imperative of migration in the context of economic sustainability and demographics, as well as its impact on public services, communities and security. Friends of Europe’s approach is based on seeing migration and integration as assets rather than as threats. Changing the current narrative surrounding migration, by emphasising the positive over the negative and presenting citizens with a realistic picture of migration, is one of their key aims. Involving cities and municipalities, private foundations, national governments, international institutions and more, is key to ensuring a more horizontal and holistic approach.
Refugee flows, while not new, have sent many systems into shock over the last several years, creating tensions between states and their international obligations, as well as between national and local governments. Indeed, while cities are often able to demonstrate resilience on the surface, issues of finance, governance, integration and urban planning are all linked to local systems which are being tested in ways for which they were not designed. The Turkish city of Gaziantep, lying less than 100 km north of Aleppo, is one such place. Despite the challenges of hosting such a large population of newcomers – of the 600,000 Syrians in Gaziantep, only 40,000 live in refugee camps – local authorities have successfully employed innovative solutions in response, including the creation of Turkey’s first municipal migration affairs unit in 2016. Sitting close to the source of so much human mobility, what lessons can be learned from Gaziantep’s experiences?
- What are the conditions that lead certain cities to effectively respond to an influx of refugees, while others fall into seeming chaos?
- How have Turkish municipalities like Gaziantep improved their ability to host and support large numbers of refugees, and what challenges have they faced along the way?
- What should the Turkish national government and the European Union do to ease pressures at the local level?
- What role has the private sector played in supporting refugees in Gaziantep and throughout Turkey?
Hande Bozatlı, Honorary President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER)
Kati Piri, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Fatma Şahin, Mayor of Gaziantep, Turkey
Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Strategy at Friends of Europe
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 11