Operation: Opération: Turkey



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
1.75 mn The registration records of over 1.75 million Syrians with temporary protection were updated and verified
252,700 vulnerable people were assisted with cash for protection, emergency assistance, and food and non-food items, of which some 192,000 were Syrian refugees under Temporary Protection and 60,700 persons of other nationalities under International Protection
16,040 cases were submitted for resettlement consideration
6,500 refugee students benefitted from higher education preparation programmes
2019 planning figures
72,400 people with specific needs will receive cash grants
32,500 people will be provided with legal assistance
4,300 people of concern will be enrolled in UNHCR-supported tertiary education programmes

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 3,993,522
2017 3,789,320
2016 3,116,156


[["Refugees",3681685],["Asylum-seekers",311719],["Returned refugees",1],["Stateless",117]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[318.39765287,336.38575258,350.92322574,367.991774618,436.06747785,399.57925845],"expenditure":[95.80975934,82.07968733,126.86572147,149.46951107,123.08865392,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[318.35365287,336.31575258,350.87922574,367.988984618,436.06468785,399.57425845],"p2":[0.044,0.07,0.044,0.00279,0.00279,0.005],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[95.80975934,82.06007284,126.86331129,149.46672107,123.08803392,null],"p2":[null,0.01961449,0.00241018,0.00279,0.00062,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

Turkey continued to host the world’s largest number of refugees in 2018, with 3.6 million Syrian nationals and close to 400,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers of other nationalities. The comprehensive legal framework for international and temporary protection continued to provide people in need of protection with a wide range of rights and access to services.

Significant changes affected the refugee response in 2018: firstly, the closure of six temporary accommodation centres, and the decongestion of three more resulted in an increase in the percentage of refugees living among the host community from 93% to 96% of the total population of concern. Secondly, following UNHCR’s termination of its registration and mandate refugee status determination activities, the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) assumed full responsibility for registering international protection applicants and processing their applications. This was an important step following the transition of the management of the Syria refugee response from the Ministry of Interior, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority to the DGMM.

Population trends

While Turkey continued to strictly manage its borders, the number of refugees and asylum-seekers continued to increase. According to the DGMM, as of December 2018, over 3.6 million Syrians had been granted temporary protection – an increase of 6% compared to 2017. Some 114,500 new applications for international protection by asylum-seekers from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Somalia were recorded – a slight increase from the 112,400 applications the previous year. 

Key achievements

  • UNHCR worked with line ministries to support the inclusion of refugees into national systems, for example, through the establishment of 44 social service centres to provide refugees with social services/benefits.
  • UNHCR focused on reducing administrative barriers to legal work by supporting the institutional capacity of the national employment agency – facilitating the employment of over 2,500 refugees (88% Syrians), and helping close to 1,100 refugees (90% Syrians) through financial assistance to access work permits.

Unmet needs

In order to increase access for people in need of legal assistance, UNHCR strengthened its cooperation with Bar Associations in 18 provinces, in particular where removal centres are located, to support the national legal aid scheme by coverage of attorney fees and litigation expenses when asylum-seekers and refugees are provided with legal aid (legal assistance and legal representation). According to the legal framework, foreigners seeking international protection in the country can approach Bar Associations (in Turkey there are 79 Bar Associations) applying for legal aid and can be provided legal assistance and/ or legal representation upon a means and merits tests. However, the high demand on the services and the budgetary constraints of the Bar Associations have limited the number of beneficiaries.
UNHCR supported the capacity development of State institutions to enhance refugees’ access to quality services in all areas including registration, social assistance and protection to people with specific needs, education and livelihoods – needs in this regard remain high.
Resettlement places remain extremely limited for refugees in Turkey, with this solution only considered for some 0.4 per cent of the refugees across the country.
UNHCR monitored voluntary repatriation interviews on a daily basis in only four provinces. The Office hopes to expand its coverage in 2019.  

Working environment

With the crisis in Syria entering its seventh year, Turkey remains the largest refugee hosting country with almost 3.3 million individuals. The Government provides protection and assistance to all people of concern in Turkey, 90 per cent of whom are living in urban settings. Turkey has made continuous progress in improving its asylum framework, and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of State institutions in the provision of rights and services. Such progress is anticipated to continue.
UNHCR’s overall strategy is to further strengthen national ownership of the response in Turkey. To achieve this, UNHCR will continue to support the Government’s coordination efforts for the overall response with the aim of providing refugees, irrespective of nationality and status, with quality services through government run systems, particularly for people with specific needs. While UNHCR’s strategy focuses on urban refugees, UNHCR will continue assisting the Government in addressing needs of refugees in camps when needed.  

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Supporting the capacity of national institutions, with a focus on the Directorate General for Migration Management and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies;
  • Promoting access to protection; by pursuing the adoption of national protection-sensitive border management tools, improving access to legal remedies and assistance and advocating for UNHCR access to people of concern in removal and detention centres;
  • Supporting the empowerment of urban refugees, through higher education, livelihoods and basic needs interventions, and community-based mobilization.
Latest contributions
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    European Union
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  • 05-JUL-2019
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