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2015 UNHCR country operations profile - Turkey

| Overview |

Working environment

UNHCR 2015 Turkey country operations map

  • Since the new Law on Foreigners and International Protection came into force in April 2014, the Directorate General of Migration Management has become the sole institution responsible for asylum matters. While Turkey still maintains the geographical limitation to the 1951 Convention, the law provides protection and assistance for asylum-seekers and refugees, regardless of their country of origin.

  • Since the Syrian crisis began in 2011, Turkey - estimated to host over one million Syrians - has maintained an emergency response of a consistently high standard and declared a temporary protection regime, ensuring non-refoulement and assistance in 22 camps, where an estimated 217,000 people are staying. Turkey is currently constructing two additional camps.

  • In 2014, Turkey also witnessed an unprecedented increase in asylum applications from Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians. Deteriorating security in Iraq saw a sudden increase in Iraqi refugees: an estimated 81,000 were in Turkey by September 2014, with numbers expected to grow to 100,000 by year-end.

  • The number of refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey in 2015 is expected to rise to nearly 1.9 million, including 1.7 million Syrian refugees. UNHCR will continue to work closely with the Government of Turkey to support protection measures and facilitate access to public services and assistance available to both Syrian urban refugees and non-Syrian people of concern.

People of concern

The main group of people of concern to UNHCR in Turkey in 2014 are Syrian refugees, most of whom have fled conflict in the Syrian provinces bordering Turkey. New arrivals are expected to continue throughout 2015. Half of the refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) are children.

Non-Syrian people of concern originate mainly from Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Somalia, the majority being Iraqi asylum-seekers. As the security and humanitarian situation in Iraq deteriorates, it is now estimated that up to 100,000 people could seek protection in Turkey by the end of 2014. Most non-Syrian refugees have been residing in Turkey for a relatively short time, and a considerable number have come from protracted refugee situations in the countries now affected by conflict.

UNHCR 2015 planning figures for Turkey*
Type of population Origin January 2015 December 2015
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 1,633,560 1,632,930 1,889,780 1,888,930
* PoC planning figures in this table are based on trends and registration data from early 2014. In light of the evolving situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, updated projections will be presented in any forthcoming appeals for supplementary requirements in 2015 for the Syria and Iraq situations, including the 2015 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP).
Refugees Afghanistan 3,930 3,930 3,930 3,930
Iraq 25,470 25,470 37,470 37,470
Syrian Arab Rep. 1,500,000 1,500,000 1,700,000 1,700,000
Various 12,070 12,070 17,070 17,070
Asylum-seekers Afghanistan 32,330 32,330 42,330 42,330
Islamic Rep. of Iran 10,250 10,250 14,250 14,250
Iraq 43,070 43,070 67,070 67,070
Various 5,820 5,820 6,820 6,820
Stateless Stateless 330 - 550 -
Others of concern Russian Federation 310 - 310 -

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2015, UNHCR will support the Turkish authorities in building the capacity of the country's new asylum institution and establishing a rights-based reception system. While UNHCR will continue to work on case management, it will start a phased handover of registration and refugee status determination (RSD) for non-Syrian refugees.

UNHCR will advocate for the adoption of a regulation governing temporary protection; access by people of concern to legislation that prevents and responds to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); a national child protection framework; and measures supporting the self-reliance and social integration of people of concern.

The Office will try to strengthen the existing pre-registration system for non-Syrian asylum-seekers, to allow the identification of the most vulnerable. Capacity building of NGOs will focus on effective access to state services, with particular attention paid to the protection of refugee children and their effective access to education. Regular protection monitoring and outreach to local authorities, NGOs, and refugees will remain a priority.

From the outset of the Syrian crisis, UNHCR has supported Turkey through the provision of core relief items, field monitoring and technical advice. In 2015, UNHCR will continue to support the authorities in addressing basic needs and core protection areas.

The greatest challenge in supporting the authorities will remain the size of the refugee population and the geographical area they cover.

| Implementation |

Coordination

In 2015, UNHCR in Turkey will continue to cooperate closely with the authorities to develop a new asylum system. UNHCR will support all relevant line ministries, as well as the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority dealing with the emergency response for Syrian refugees and the newly-established Directorate-General of Migration Management (DGMM).

UNHCR will keep working with Turkish civil society, as well as with accredited international NGOs to protect people of concern and engage NGOs in: pre-registration, outreach, mass information campaigns, screening of vulnerabilities, social and legal counselling, psychological and social assistance, and vocational trainings.

Within the UN Country Team, UNHCR will lead the coordination of UN response efforts for the Syrian refugees, intensifying its efforts and broadening its partnerships at country level.

For resettlement and voluntary repatriation arrangements, collaboration with IOM will be maintained.

2015 UNHCR partners in Turkey
Implementing partners
NGOs: Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants, Human Resource Development Foundation, International Medical Corps, International Blue Crescent, Support to Life
Operational partners
Government agencies: Coast Guard Command, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey, Gendarmerie General Command, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Education, Ministry of the Interior (Directorate-General of Migration Management and for Security), National Human Rights Institution, Ombudsman's Office, Presidency of Religious Affairs, Secretariat General For EU Affairs, Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency
NGOs: Amnesty International, Ankara Refugee Lunch Support Group, Association for Solidarity with Refugees (Multeci-Der), Bar Associations, Caritas, Danish Refugee Council, Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, Human Rights Association, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, International Catholic Migration Commission, International Medical Corps, Peace Research Institute in the Middle East, International Rescue Committee, JRS / KADER, KAMER, KAOS Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association, Kimse Yok Mu, Relief International, the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People (Mazlum-der), Education Volunteers Foundation of Turkey, Welthungerhilfe
Others: IOM, UN Country Team, Universities

| Financial information |

For the last five years, UNHCR's Turkey operational budget has steadily increased from USD 17.7 million in 2010 to USD 320.16 million in 2015. This increase is primarily due to the influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, including people displaced by the Syrian crisis and developments in Iraq.

Of the comprehensive needs-based budget of USD 320.16 million for 2015, USD 291.8 million corresponds to the planned activities to provide support to Syrian refugees, and USD 28.37 million for other people of concern. In light of the evolving situations in Iraq and Syria, any changes in requirements will be presented in the 2015 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the Syria situation, and in a supplementary appeal for the Iraq situation.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Turkey
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in Turkey
Street Address Enis Behic Koryurek Sokak, No: 15, Aziziye Mahallesi, Cankaya Ankara, 06690 Ankara, Turkey
Mailing Address Enis Behic Koryurek Sokak, No: 15, Aziziye Mahallesi, Cankaya Ankara, 06690 Ankara, Turkey
Telephone 90 312 409 7300
Facsimile 90 312 441 2173
Website http://www.unhcr.org.tr
Email turan@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 2
Working Hours
Monday:9:00 - 17:00
Tuesday:9:00 - 17:00
Wednesday:9:00 - 17:00
Thursday:9:00 - 17:00
Friday:9:00 - 17:00
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New year
18 April 2014, Good Friday
23 April 2014, Children day
19 May 2014, Youth Day
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
29 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
07 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
29 October 2014, Republic Day
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
UNHCR Field Office Van
Style of Address Head of UNHCR Field Office in Van
Street Address Istasyon Caddesi Terminal 1., Sokak No 40/2, 65000 Van, Turkey
Mailing Address Istasyon Caddesi Terminal 1., Sokak No 40/2, 65000, Van, Turkey
Telephone 90 432 223 4858
Facsimile 90 432 223 3244
Website http://www.unhcr.org.tr
Email turva@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 2
Working Hours
Monday:9:00 - 17:00
Tuesday:9:00 - 17:00
Wednesday:9:00 - 17:00
Thursday:9:00 - 17:00
Friday:9:00 - 17:00
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New year
18 April 2014, Good Friday
23 April 2014, Children day
19 May 2014, Youth Day
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
29 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
07 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
29 October 2014, Republic Day
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Turkey [1]
Refugees [2]
More info 609,938
Refugee figure for Syrians in Turkey is a Government estimate.
Asylum Seekers [3] 52,467
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 780
Various [8] 306
Total Population of Concern 663,491
Originating from Turkey [1]
Refugees [2] 66,607
Asylum Seekers [3] 10,556
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 10
Total Population of Concern 77,173
Government Contributions to UNHCR
2013 Contributions Breakdown
Total contribution in USD: 200,000 [rank: 40]
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 [rank: 27]
Donor ranking per GDP: 62
Donor ranking per capita: 61
2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014
More info 700,000
As at 8 December 2014
2013
More info 200,000
Total contribution in USD: 200,000 [rank: 40]
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 [rank: 27]
Donor ranking per GDP: 62
Donor ranking per capita: 61
2012
More info 500,000
Total contribution in USD: 500,000 [rank: 33]
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 [rank: 25]
Donor ranking per GDP: 58
Donor ranking per capita: 56
2011
More info 201,000
Total contribution in USD: 201,000 [rank: 40]
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 [rank: 26]
Donor ranking per GDP: 43
Donor ranking per capita: 44
2010
More info 200,000
Total contribution in USD: 200,000 (rank: 34)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 (rank: 26)
Donor ranking per GDP: 49
Donor ranking per capita: 49
2009
More info 400,000
Total contribution in USD: 400,000 (rank: 36)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 (rank: 25)
Donor ranking per GDP: 45
Donor ranking per capita: 45
2008
More info 450,000
Total contribution in USD: 450,000 (rank: 33)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 (rank: 28)
Donor ranking per GDP: 38
Donor ranking per capita: 39
2007
More info 3,200,000
Total contribution in USD: 3,200,000 (rank: 23)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 (rank: 25)
Donor ranking per GDP: 27
Donor ranking per capita: 32
2006
More info 200,000
Total contribution in USD: 200,000 (rank: 59)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 200,000 (rank: 30)
Donor ranking per GDP: 37
Donor ranking per capita: 37
2005
More info 1,100,000
USD 1,100,000 of which 550,000 (50%) unrestricted and USD 550,000 earmarked at the country level (50%).
2004 0
2003
More info 250,000
USD 250,000 of which USD 150,000 (60%) was unrestricted and USD 100,000 (40%) earmarked at the subregional level.
2002
More info 150,000
USD 150,000 of which 100% unrestricted.
2001
More info 150,000
USD 150,000 of which 100% unrestricted.
2000
More info 250,000
USD 250,000 of which 150,000 (60%) unrestricted and 100,000 (40%) earmarked.
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2006
YearUSD
2014
More info 1,641
As at 8 December 2014
2013 112
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0

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Beyond the Border

In 2010, the Turkish border with Greece became the main entry point for people attempting by irregular methods to reach member states of the European Union, with over 132,000 arrivals. While some entered as migrants with the simple wish of finding a better life, a significant number fled violence or persecution in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia. The journey is perilous, with many reports of drowning when people board flimsy vessels and try to cross the Mediterranean Sea or the River Evros on the border between Greece and Turkey. The many deficiencies in the Greek asylum system are exacerbated by the pressure of tens of thousands of people awaiting asylum hearings. Reception facilities for new arrivals, including asylum-seekers, are woefully inadequate. Last year, UNHCR visited a number of overcrowded facilities where children, men and women were detained in cramped rooms with insufficient facilities. UNHCR is working with the Greek government to improve its asylum system and has called upon other European states to offer support.

Beyond the Border

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

By mid-September, more than 200,000 Syrian refugees had crossed the border into Turkey. UNHCR estimates that half of them are children, and many have seen their homes destroyed in the conflict before fleeing to the border and safety.

The Turkish authorities have responded by building well-organized refugee camps along southern Turkey's border with Syria. These have assisted 120,000 refugees since the crisis conflict erupted in Syria. There are currently 12 camps hosting 90,000 refugees, while four more are under construction. The government has spent approximately US$300 million to date, and it continues to manage the camps and provide food and medical services.

The UN refugee agency has provided the Turkish government with tents, blankets and kitchen sets for distribution to the refugees. UNHCR also provides advice and guidelines, while staff from the organization monitor voluntary repatriation of refugees.

Most of the refugees crossing into Turkey come from areas of northern Syria, including the city of Aleppo. Some initially stayed in schools or other public buildings, but they have since been moved into the camps, where families live in tents or container homes and all basic services are available.

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

Angelina Jolie visits Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Middle East

In her new role as UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie has made five trips to visit refugees so far this year. She travelled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in September 2012 to meet some of the tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled conflict in their homeland and sought shelter in neighbouring countries. Jolie wrapped up her Middle East visit in Iraq, where she met Syrian refugees in the north as well as internally displaced Iraqis and refugee returnees to Baghdad.

The following unpublished photos were taken during her visit to the Middle East and show her meeting with Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Angelina Jolie visits Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Middle East

From Paris With Love, Toys for Syrian Children

Every year, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris organizes a collection of toys from schoolchildren in Paris and, with a little help from UNHCR and other key partners, sends them to refugee children who have lost so much.

The beneficiaries this year were scores of Syrian children living in two camps in Turkey, one of the major host countries for the more than 1.4 million Syrians who have fled their country with or without their families. Most of these traumatized young people have lost their own belongings in the rubble of Syria.

Last week, staff from the museum, UNHCR and the Fédération des Associations d'Anciens du Scoutisme gathered up the toys and packed them into 60 boxes. They were then flown to Turkey by Aviation Sans Frontières (Aviation without Borders) and taken to the kindergarten and nursery schools in Nizip-1 and Nizip-2 camps near the city of Gaziantep.

A gift from more fortunate children in the French capital, the toys brought a ray of sunshine into the lives of some young Syrian refugees and reminded them that their peers in the outside world do care.

These images of the toy distribution were taken by photographer Aytac Akad and UNHCR's Selin Unal.

From Paris With Love, Toys for Syrian Children

Keeping Occupied in Turkey's Adiyaman camp for Syrian Refugees

Since the conflict in Syria erupted in April 2011, the government of neighbouring Turkey has established 17 camps in eight provinces to provide safety and shelter to tens of thousands of refugees - three-quarters of them women and children. The camps, including Adiyaman depicted here, provide a place to live and address the basic physical needs of the residents, but they also provide access to health care, education, vocational training and other forms of psychosocial support.

UNHCR teams are present on a regular basis in all the refugee camps and provide technical assistance to the Turkish authorities on all protection-related concerns, including registration, camp management, specific needs and vulnerabilities, and voluntary repatriation. UNHCR has contributed tents, cooking facilities and other relief items. The refugee agency is also working with the government to help an estimated 100,000 Syrian urban refugees. It will continue its material and technical support to help the authorities cope with an increase in arrivals. The following images of camp life were taken by American photographer, Brian Sokol, in Adiyaman camp, located in Turkey's Gaziantep province. At the start of February 2013, nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees were living in the camp.

Keeping Occupied in Turkey's Adiyaman camp for Syrian Refugees

Turkey: Faysal's Flight from Kobane , SyriaPlay video

Turkey: Faysal's Flight from Kobane , Syria

More than 170,000 people have fled from the town of Kobane in northern Syria to escape a fierce offensive by ISIL militants. Faysal managed to escape to Turkey before the fighting in the cauldron of conflict intensified, but he still has some family left in the besieged town on the border.

Refugees Continue Flowing into TurkeyPlay video

Refugees Continue Flowing into Turkey

Turkey has opened borders point for Syrian Kurdish civilians fleeing clashes between ISIS militants and Kurdish forces. More than 138,000 have crossed over since Friday and more are expected.

Turkey: Surge of Syrian RefugeesPlay video

Turkey: Surge of Syrian Refugees

More than 138,000 Syrian Kurd refugees have crossed into Turkey from the north of Syria in the last three days. This is one of the largest refugee influxes into Turkey since the start of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.

Syrian Refugees: Turkey Border Town WelcomePlay video

Syrian Refugees: Turkey Border Town Welcome

More than 10,000 Syrian Refugees have flowed into the town Akcakale in Southern Turkey. Akcakale is a town of 30,000 that now sits next door to a refugee camp with 30,000 more Syrian refugees seeking safety.

Syrian Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in TurkeyPlay video

Syrian Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in Turkey

Adiyaman camp in Turkey hosts 10,000 Syrian refugees. Once there, the refugees start to try and rebuild their lives in a positive direction. The camp management, with help from the local municipality, has set up workshops that are giving daily meaning to the lives of the refugees.

Syrian Refugees: An Urban Refugee in Turkey Play video

Syrian Refugees: An Urban Refugee in Turkey

There are more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Some 200,000 are housed in refugee camps along the border, but more than 460,000 live more precarious lives as urban refugees. One of them, Abdul Rahman, lives in the southern city of Urfa. It's been tough but the young man keeps his dreams alive.

Turkey: Supporting Syrian RefugeesPlay video

Turkey: Supporting Syrian Refugees

As the savings of Syrian refugees living in urban areas dwindle, soup kitchens provide much needed food assistance.

Turkey : Syrian Refugee RapPlay video

Turkey : Syrian Refugee Rap

Rapping in Arabic is not easy, but a group of Syrian refugees are finding a way. Syrian boys and girls in Kilis refugee camp in Turkey find an outlet for their talents and experiences through rap

Turkey: Saving FatmehPlay video

Turkey: Saving Fatmeh

In the care of her aunt, frail little nine-month old Fatmeh struggles to stay alive.
Turkey: Urban Refugees from SyriaPlay video

Turkey: Urban Refugees from Syria

The Turkish government has built nearly 20 camps for Syrian refugees, yet more and more of them are settling in urban areas.
Turkey: Special NeedsPlay video

Turkey: Special Needs

A Syrian father flees to Turkey with his family to ensure that his son, who lives with disability, gets the care he needs.
Turkey: UNHCR Chief Visits Syrian RefugeesPlay video

Turkey: UNHCR Chief Visits Syrian Refugees

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres visits Syrian refugees, thanks Turkey for hosting so many.
Turkey: Camp LifePlay video

Turkey: Camp Life

In Turkey, 14 refugee camps shelter more than 100,000 Syrians, but more are needed.
Three Conflicts - Three CrisesPlay video

Three Conflicts - Three Crises

UNHCR says a multitude of new refugee crises in Africa and the Middle East are stretching its capacity to respond.
Turkey: Escaping the ViolencePlay video

Turkey: Escaping the Violence

The story of one man and his family's flight to Turkey, which is hosting nearly 90,000 Syrian refugees in 13 camps.
Angelina Jolie visits Syrian refugees in TurkeyPlay video

Angelina Jolie visits Syrian refugees in Turkey

On the third leg of their tour, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres went to Turkey. Their first stop there was in Kilis camp, home to 12,000 Syrian refugees.
Turkey: Angelina Jolie Meets Syrian RefugeesPlay video

Turkey: Angelina Jolie Meets Syrian Refugees

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador travelled to the Turkey-Syria border to hear the stories of Syrian civilians forced to flee their country.