Vice President Fuat Oktay represented Turkey in ILO’s International Labour Conference at Geneva

ILCVice President Fuat Oktay represented Turkey at the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference which started on 10 June 2019 at Geneva and celebrated the Centenary of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Marking the ILO’s Centenary, this year’s conference run from 10 to 21 June 2019, and brought together over 6,000 delegates from 187 countries from around the world.

Vice President Oktay delivered a speech at the opening plenary of the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference, and held talks with delegations.

Emphasising that he was honoured to address the session on the occasion of ILO’s 100th anniversary of its establishment, Oktay said “It is my sincere hope that this Conference will contribute to welfare of the people around the world.”

“Turkey supports human-centric approach of ILO regarding future of work”

Congratulating ILO for its successful, effective and efficient work since its founding, Oktay underlined the importance accorded by Turkey to the thematic discussions on the future of work and ILO’s Centenary events. He also noted that Turkey sincerely supported human-centric approach of ILO regarding future of work.

“Our reforms and accomplishments have been realized with an understanding of human centric approach; while prioritizing investment, employment and production,” he said.

Pointing to ILO’s bridging role, Oktay said “ILO has proven its relevance by not only in establishing social peace but also in contributing to international peace.”

Expressing his firm belief that ILO will assume an important role in the next hundred years, Oktay added “ILO’s achievements in healing the wounds of two world wars, addressing social tensions generated by economic and social hardship together with stakeholders and sustaining better working conditions with the key principles of building consensus through negotiation, are the milestones in its successful history.”

Oktay continued that “Cooperation between Turkey and ILO commenced at a very early stage in 1927. This cooperation has rendered important impacts on structuring of work life, its institutions and customs. Today, our cooperation with ILO in all aspects of work life continues.”

“I congratulate ILO for its work for migration and refugees”

Reminding the migration triggered by the events that started in March 2011 in Syria, Oktay said that the world was facing the largest scale migration since the World War II.
Noting that Turkey opened its doors to over 4 million Syrians who fled civil war, oppression, violence and terror and spent more than 37 billion USD in assistance, Oktay said “this humanitarian tragedy can only be relieved if the international community shares the burden and responsibility. Geographic proximity should not make any one country the only responsible one and bearer of this tragedy.”

Oktay also underlined that migrants and refugees did contribute significantly to the economies of countries where they lived, therefore this could create a win-win situation both for host countries and migrants if the migration was effectively managed.
Cautioning that negative stereotypes, discrimination and xenophobia further worsened the conditions of migrants and refugees, Oktay added “Governments have to find ways to improve life and working conditions as well as to tackle unacceptable trends like anti-migrant sentiments and xenophobia.”

“I congratulate ILO for its work, contributions and initiatives for migration and refugees while many developed countries consider migrants and refugees as existential threats and adopting populist policies against them”.