The Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (İHKİB) signed a deal with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to provide employment for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The project aims to integrate refugees in the workforce. The İHKİB and ILO will cooperate on the project in cities with a high population of refugees.
The Turkish association's president Mustafa Gültepe says they would coordinate businesses' recruitment of refugees, from the production process to their social adoption and management of human resources, in order to boost employment of refugees. ILO's Turkey director Numan Özcan says the international body was working since 2015 for integration of Syrian refugees to the Turkish workforce and the project would be carried out in 10 cities including Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa. "We believe that collaboration with İHKİB is highly important in the apparel industry where Syrians and host communities are, or have the potential of being, employed in large numbers. As a most important sectoral organization with more than 7,000 members representing the Turkish apparel industry, the İHKİB makes significant contributions to the sector and Turkish economy," Özcan said.
Under the deal, the association's members will be informed on incentives for employment and on-site consulting services would be provided to companies for proper recruitment of refugees.
Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million refugees from war-torn Syria, the largest Syrian refugee community in the world. The country is praised for its continuous humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians and modern refugee camps in its border cities. Still, only a small fraction of the large refugee population live in these camps and others mostly depend on aid. With no end in sight to the conflict in Syria which broke out in 2011, Turkey seeks for ways for integration of refugees. It started issuing work permits to refugees two years ago. One-year permits that can be renewed are confined to the textile, construction and manufacturing sectors.