Letter to the Home Secretary following Türkiye and Syria earthquakes

Thursday 9th March 2023

Dear Home Secretary,

Everyone in Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Enfield has been heartbroken by the events that have taken place in Türkiye and Syria last month following the series of earthquakes in the region.

Our boroughs have large Turkish, Kurdish and Syrian communities here and we have been working hard to support them during such a tough time, as well as helping to raise money and collect donations to support those affected by the disaster. The response from everyone in North London who has offered help and support has been so heart-warming.

For many in our boroughs, they have personal links to the regions affected by the earthquakes and sadly many will have lost loved ones. For others, their friends and family will now be left without shelter or supplies, and need urgent assistance.

Our boroughs has a long history of welcoming those in need. Many are working towards becoming Boroughs of Sanctuary and local people opened their homes last year to those affected by the war in Ukraine. As we are now seeing another humanitarian emergency unfold, we are keen to help in any way we can. There could be millions of people displaced by the tragedy and it will be a long time before their homes, villages and communities are rebuilt.

As a result, we are calling for the Government to urgently allow visa extension applications from Turkish and Syrian nationals in the UK granted on compassionate grounds for those whose visas are set to expire but are unable to go home, expedite decisions for those waiting to enter the UK and set up a programme of temporary visas for those affected by the disaster, which could be time-limited. This way, the UK could play its part in supporting a region that is suffering so much right now and our community can try to be reunited with their loved ones.

People in our boroughs are determined to help in any way we can right now and we urge the Government to open up our country to those in need.

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council
Cllr Roulin Khondoker, Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion, Islington Council
Cllr Heather Staff, Migrants Champion, Islington Council
Cllr Ilkay Cinko-Oner, Migrants Champion, Islington Council
Mayor Phil Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet member for Employment, Human Resources and Equalities, Hackney Council
Cllr Peray Ahmet, Leader, Haringey Council
Cllr Lucia das Neves, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care, and Wellbeing, Haringey Council
Cllr Gina Needs, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Cohesion, Enfield Council


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