As a result of the need arising after workforce migration, which started in the early 60s, from Turkey to industrialized European countries, in order to protect the rights and interests of our citizens and to take steps to solve their problems by the relevant institutions, the Department for Missions Abroad of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security was established on 08 May 1967.
Shortly after our services abroad started to be rendered to our citizens residing in foreign countries, "the DG for Workers' Problems Abroad" was established as one of the main service units of the Ministry of Labour on 06 April 1972. The name of the DG was changed as "the DG for Services for Workers Abroad" on 13 December 1983 and to "the DG for Foreign Relations and Services for Workers Abroad" on 24 July 2003.
The DG for Foreign Relations and Services for Workers Abroad, which was restructured on this date, carries out its activities on two main axes: ' services for citizens abroad ' and 'foreign relations'.
Note: With the "Presidential Decree No. 1 on the Presidential Organization" published on 10 July 2018, the name of the Directorate General was changed as "the DG for Services for Workers Abroad" and then as "the DG for Foreign Relations" with the "Presidential Decree No. 27" dated 10 January 2019.
Services for Citizens Abroad
Today, about three million Turkish citizens, live abroad mostly in West European countries. This number exceeds six million along with those who have acquired citizenship from other countries. In addition, Türkiye has more than two million citizens who have made absolute return to Turkey after working abroad for a while, but who have both legal and family connections with these countries due to their past work.
The Directorate General utilizes every means to protect and promote the rights of our citizens and their family members who work abroad or whose connections with abroad continue, arising from labour and social security legislation. For this purpose, in 29 countries where Turkish citizens reside, Turkish citizens are served by a total of 57 units. 30 of these units are Labour and Social Security Counsellor’s Offices within our Embassies and 27 of them are Labour and Social Security Attaché’s Offices within our General Consulates.
The Directorate General represents Turkey before international organizations, especially the International Labour Organization (ILO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Council of Europe (CoE) on other issues falling within the Ministry’s field of responsibility. It exerts efforts to fulfil the obligations arising from being party to the agreements of these organizations. In addition, the Directorate General ensures the conclusion of bilateral social security and labour agreements in order to protect the rights and interests of our citizens and perpetuates close relations with equivalent Ministries of foreign countries through inter-ministerial cooperation agreements.
Several valuable diplomats of Turkey were brutally murdered by Armenian terrorist organizations between 1973-1984. Three of our diplomats who served in the Department for Missions Abroad were martyred in these terrorist incidents, which is unique in the history of world diplomacy. As a result of the armed attack, Reşat MORALI, who served as an Deputy Counsellor at Paris Labour and Social Security Counsellor’s Office and Tecelli ARI, who served as Religious Official on 4 March 1981, and Erdoğan ÖZEN, who worked as Social Assistant at Vienna Labour and Social Security Counsellor’s Office, were martyred by blood-thirsty terrorists on 20 June 1984. However, it should be known that our personnel, who serve abroad at the cost of their lives to serve their country and nation, will not bow to any threats of terrorist organizations.
Outlook on Future
The most important objective of the Directorate General is to diversify the services offered to our citizens abroad, who are an integral part of our country in accordance with today’s requirements, to protect and promote the rights of our citizens arising from international law and the national legislation of home countries, and to enhance effectiveness of the Ministry in international arena as in every field by working with a great sense of responsibility and devotion as so was in the past.