For the past seven years, Turkey has been home to the world’s largest refugee population, hosting close to 4 million refugees and asylum-seekers, including 3.6 million Syrians and nearly 330,000 people of other nationalities. Turkey’s refugee response is based on a comprehensive legal framework, which provides refugees with access to services upon registration. Turkey has been progressively implementing a policy of inclusion and harmonization, by including refugees in public services and supporting them to become self-reliant and live in harmony with their host community.
However, with refugees spread across the country in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, there remain challenges in implementing the legal framework. These are due to differences in local contexts, refugee numbers, support capacities, and practices across the country’s 81 provinces. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded an already difficult situation for refugees and their hosts, increasing pressure on public systems and services, and posing challenges to social cohesion.
For these reasons, significant support is needed to maintain and sustain the progress made prior to the COVID-19 crisis. This requires more resources for humanitarian, resilience and development interventions to support refugees, host communities and the institutions that serve both.
In 2021, UNHCR will focus on:
- Promoting the provision of, and access to, protection for refugees of all nationalities. UNHCR will advocate the admission of persons in need of international protection and their access to fair and efficient national asylum processes, while promoting procedural standards and safeguards, including by improving access to information and legal assistance. Cooperation with the Directorate General for Migration Management (DGMM) on continuous registration and international protection procedures will remain a priority.
- Strengthening protection for refugees with specific needs and ensuring their access to quality services. Particular focus will be placed on protecting children and women at risk, including unaccompanied or separated children. UNHCR will work with public entities and civil society to enhance their identification, referrals and responses.
- Developing social cohesion, by working with municipalities locally and continuing and expanding its cooperation with DGMM on harmonization.
- Promoting durable solutions and self-reliance, including socioeconomic inclusion. UNHCR will focus on tertiary education, by providing scholarships, Turkish language classes, and using UNHCR’s catalytic role to support national entities, development partners, international financial institutions and the private sector to enhance livelihood opportunities.
- Advocating increased resettlement quotas and safe complementary pathways for refugees of all nationalities and carrying out resettlement processing, observing voluntary repatriation interviews, monitoring trends and working with the DGMM to update the preparedness plan for returns.
- Supporting the Government’s refugee response in its capacity as co-lead of the 3RP, Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan, including through coordination efforts.