Turkey continues to host the largest refugee population in the world. In 2019, the number of Syrians registered under temporary protection has remained stable at more than 3.57 million, almost half of whom are children. 1 The Law on Foreigners and International Protection, and the Temporary Protection Regulation3 , provide a strong legal framework for the legal stay, registration, access to rights and services for Syrians in Turkey. In 2019, a major verification of the registration of Syrians under temporary protection was concluded. The successful verification of the registration data of more than 2.7 million Syrians under temporary protection was followed by an ongoing continuous registration and updating of registration records. In line with the legal framework, the registration of Syrians under temporary protection by the Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) will continue. In addition, spontaneous, self-organized returns of Syrians under temporary protection are processed under voluntary return procedures regulated within the legal framework. Their returns continue to be monitored by the Government of Turkey and 3RP partners.
Currently, over 98 per cent of Syrians under temporary protection live in urban and rural areas, with less than 2 per cent residing in the seven remaining Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs). The majority live in the southeast of Turkey, as well as metropolitan cities such as Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir and Konya, mostly among members of the host community that often face similar needs and challenges. 4 Since 2018, 12 of the 19 TACs have been closed following the relocation of Syrians under temporary protection living in the TACs to urban and rural areas or other temporary accommodation centres. Four TACs have seen a significant reduction of residents following voluntary relocation to host communities.
The Government of Turkey has shouldered the bulk of the financial costs related to the refugee response in Turkey. As the displacement situation remains protracted, Turkey is calling for increased and sustained international responsibilitysharing, in line with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees and the principle of ‘Leaving No One Behind’ under the Sustainable Development Goals, to address the continued needs of Syrians under temporary protection as well as the needs of host communities. However, while many 3RP efforts have focused on strengthening and enhancing the capacities of host communities and relevant institutions, resilience related needs have increased and remain largely underfunded.
Turkey continues to provide Syrians under temporary protection with access to services in national systems, such as health, education and social services, as stipulated in the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, and the Temporary Protection Regulation. In addition, on the basis of the Regulation on Work Permits of Refugees under Temporary Protection, the Directorate General of International Labour Force of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS) evaluates work permit applications and provides foreigners with the opportunity to access the labour market. The Law on Foreigners and International Protection has also introduced the concept of harmonization to the legal framework in Turkey, in an effort to strengthen social inclusion, promote self-reliance and allow for host community members and foreigners including persons under temporary protection to live in harmony.
The 3RP partners work in support of the refugee response provided by the Government of Turkey, and complement support provided by development partners such as international financial institutions (IFIs). Since its introduction in 2015 in Turkey, the 3RP has contributed to the mobilization of approximately USD 3.6 billion to date. This support is largely directed towards public systems and services that have been overstretched as a result of the increase in demand in areas with high concentrations of Syrians under temporary protection.
The Temporary Protection Regulation allows Syrians to access health care, with the Ministry of Health (MoH) overseeing provision of services through state hospitals, Migrant Health Centres and units that operate as part of the Turkish community health centres. A network of Migrant Health Centres provides primary health services that alleviate the pressures placed on hospitals and increase access to healthcare through reducing language barriers and increasing human resource capacity. The health sector works to expand health services for Syrians under temporary protection through the integration of Syrian health personnel working alongside Turkish doctors and nurses in migrant health centres and units.
In the education sector, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) continues to promote the inclusion of Syrians under temporary protection in the national education system. More than 680,000 Syrian children of school age (5-17 years) are enrolled in formal education and over 33,000 students are attending tertiary education. Socio-economic factors have a marked effect on school enrolment, attendance and retention, particularly for older children. The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE) programme, the provision of subsidized school transportation and other complementary services such as the provision of dorms all help to address some of these socioeconomic barriers. Around 518,000 children benefited from the CCTE programme (75 per cent of those enrolled), including almost 69,000 children who benefited from child protection outreach services, which aim to promote regular school attendance and provide higher cash amounts for girls and for secondary school students attending formal education 5 . Adolescents and youth will continue receiving support in acquiring relevant technical and vocational skills training. 3RP partners will support and enhance accredited programmes that provide a wider range of relevant pathways to learning. These will enhance access to formal education, vocational training and life skills development, as well as accelerated learning programmes for those who have missed several years of schooling.
People with specific needs, in particular women and children at risk, continue to be a priority for the 3RP. 3RP partners have worked to support systems to provide targeted protection assistance, including in prevention and response to genderbased violence, providing protection responses and psycho-social support to the community with a focus on children and supporting access to legal and other specialized services. The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS) has continued to respond to identified needs and has strengthened its capacity to undertake outreach and manage protection cases. This includes offering specialized services for women, youth and children such as safe spaces and shelters. The expansion of safe spaces and the provision of child protection services have been prioritized. 3RP partners continue to support the Government of Turkey in meeting the most pressing needs of Syrians under temporary protection and of vulnerable host community members, and provide cash and in-kind assistance to the most vulnerable. The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is a multi-purpose cash assistance scheme for the most vulnerable Syrians under temporary protection to cover essential needs like food, rent and utilities. Since its inception in 2016, over 2 million vulnerable individuals have benefited from the ESSN. 6 During 2019, a total of 1.9 million Syrians under temporary protection have benefited from ESSN and other complementary cash-based assistance interventions combined. The Government of Turkey has prepared an exit strategy from the ESSN with two objectives, which are to reduce the dependency of Syrians under temporary protection on social assistance schemes and to equip them with skills and competencies to become self-reliant.
Municipalities have provided complementary services to those offered by line ministries and provincial directorates, and have been the first responders to the impact of population increase on local services.
The increase in demand continues to strain the infrastructure and services of municipalities. Since 2014, USD 60 million has been mobilized by 3RP partners to support 60 municipalities, hosting 90% of the refugee population. The support provided to municipalities by 3RP partners has increased from USD 2.9 million in 2014, to USD 23.7 million in 2019. 7 The Regulation on Work Permits of Refugees under Temporary Protection adopted in 2016, grants Syrians under temporary protection the right to apply for work permits and access to formal employment, with the aim of promoting self-reliance. Since 2016, more than 132,497 work permits have been issued to Syrian nationals (including those under temporary protection and Syrians who have a residence permit) as of December 31, 2019. 8 Increasing unemployment, unconditional social benefits and social barriers (language barriers, etc.) experienced by employers and job seekers continue to pose challenges to formal employment. In order to reduce informality; information, and awarenessraising activities are carried out and partners will continue supporting such activities in the coming period. In addition, Syrians under temporary protection can work in seasonal agriculture or animal husbandry within the scope of work permit exemptions. Efforts to increase access to employment for Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey are, however, taking place at a time when Turkey in general is also facing increasing levels of unemployment.
The inclusion of Syrians under temporary protection into relevant national systems is also outlined in Turkey’s 11th National Development Plan (NDP), which refers to harmonization for youth and children, awareness raising campaigns and language learning. The 3RP continues its alignment efforts with national development processes, as well as with the United Nations Development Cooperation Strategy (UNDCS) to support the Government of Turkey in progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and “Leaving no one behind.”