Friday, July 22, 2011




State to create jobs for Roma

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A state agency prepares to launch a project aiming to give more jobs to the members of Roma community in Turkey. While the representatives of the communty welcome the move, they expect the jobs to be ‘familiar’ to the Roma

The Turkish Employment Organization, or İş-Kur, has announced a new project that aims to create more employment opportunities for members of Turkey’s Roma community.
The project will specifically focus on provinces with high populations of Roma people, said İş-Kur head director Mustafa Biçerli.

“We are now in talks with Roma organizations from 16 different cities such as Çanakkale, Edirne, İzmir and Tekirdağ,” Biçerli told Anatolia news agency. “Roma people are among those who are disadvantaged in finding jobs, but we want to change that.”

The project aims to create vocational courses for members of the Roma community and to provide employment-guaranteed jobs for participants.

“Most of the Roma people work in jobs without social security. It is important to provide them work in other job sectors,” Biçerli said.

The rate of unemployment among Turkey’s Roma community is 97 percent, according to Şükrü Pündük, the chairman of the Sulukule Roma Culture Cultivation and Solidarity Association.

“Most Roma people are musicians, and the rest are doing jobs such as collecting paper from the garbage,” Pündük told the Hürriyet Daily News over the phone.

About 6,000 musicians used to work in Sulukule, a heavily Roma-populated district in Istanbul that was once a center of entertainment, Pündük said, adding that its residents were relocated from the area when it went through an urban-gentrification process in 2009.

“All the people who worked there lost their jobs, and haven’t found anything since then. These people are musicians; that’s why it is important to find job sectors in which they can perform their jobs. This is also important for our culture,” Pündük said.

Erdem Gürümcüler from the Edirne Roma Federation, or EDROM, agreed.
“We are very glad that İş-Kur is starting such a project. They should also create job opportunities for our women and young people,” Gürümcüler told the Daily News.

“Roma people are very hard-working and if they are given opportunities they will do their best,” he added. “They are not just musicians and dancers, yet it is important to note that they have a long history as musicians and they need more job opportunities in music and entertainment areas.”

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