The number of refugees in Turkey has reached some 3.9 million, making Turkey the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. About 94% of Syrian refugees in Turkey remain outside of camps with limited but growing access to basic services. The EU has contracted 45 humanitarian projects with 19 humanitarian organisations, which are working in close cooperation with Turkish partner organisations to help the most vulnerable refugees.
Some 3.9 million registered refugees live in Turkey, including Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, and Somalis among others. Out of these, almost 220 000 people are hosted in camps run by the Turkish authorities, where refugees have access to shelter, health, education, food, and social activities.
Most Syrian refugees and many refugees from other nationalities live outside the camps, under very challenging circumstances with depleted resources. Registered refugees have access to public services, including education and healthcare. However, for many refugees, access to these basic facilities is often difficult for various reasons, including problems in registering with local authorities, and the language barrier.
The EU funds humanitarian projects to help Syrian and other refugees and host communities in close cooperation with Turkish authorities. The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey is funded from both the EU budget and contributions from EU Member States.
The total EU humanitarian funding to support refugees in Turkey through the Facility between 2016 and 2017 was €1.4 billion. The Facility's flagship humanitarian programme is the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), a social assistance scheme that allows the most vulnerable refugees meet their most pressing basic needs. With financing of €998 million from the EU the implementing partner the World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkish government institutions, is distributing debit cards to refugee families through which refugees can purchase what is most needed for them. As of April 2018, the ESSN is assisting over 1.3 million beneficiaries. It is the largest single humanitarian project in the history of the EU.
Building on the ESSN, the European Union funds the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) project in partnership with UNICEF. The EU contribution of €84 million funds bi-monthly cash transfers to vulnerable refugee families whose children attend school regularly. The project also includes a child protection component to ensure refugee children continue to attend school and receive complementary child protection services when needed. In May, CCTE supported more than 270 000 children who attend school regularly. Including an additional half-yearly payment for registration, the CCTE has in total supported over 350,000 children. These projects are complemented by a number of other humanitarian aid projects addressing protection issues, providing non-formal education and specialised health care services.
Altogether 45 humanitarian projects have been contracted with 19 humanitarian organisations to help refugees and vulnerable people. These projects complement the EU’s non-humanitarian assistance under the Facility, which focuses on education, health, migration management, municipal infrastructure and socioeconomic support. This is channelled through the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
Learn more about EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey