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Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world. During 2018, the number of Syrians under temporary protection reached 3.6 million , almost half of whom are children. Only around four per cent of Syrians live in the 13 official Temporary Accommodation Centres , while 96 per cent reside among the host community in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. The majority of Syrians under temporary protection live in the southeast of Turkey. However, substantial populations are also found in large cities of Turkey such as Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. In Istanbul alone, it is estimated that there are over 500,000 Syrians under temporary protection, making it the largest refugee-hosting city in Turkey.
In addition, there are significant numbers of Syrians under temporary protection in cities such as Hatay, Mersin, Adana and Konya.
In 2018, the Government of Turkey decided to consolidate and close a number of Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs).
Six have been closed so far. According to their preferences, the population residing in these centres relocated to urban locations or to other Temporary Accommodation Centres. As a result of the relocation process, some 45,000 Syrian and a number of Iraqi nationals have moved to provinces located predominantly in the southeast of Turkey.
The majority have opted for settling in host communities and staying in provinces where their Temporary Accommodation Centres were. This is an important step towards a reduction in dependency on assistance and a positive development in addressing specific vulnerabilities caused by displacement.
Unless significant developments occur in Syria, it is assumed that the current number of Syrians under temporary protection will remain relatively stable. The Government of Turkey maintains its open door policy towards Syrians, while continuing the strict management of the borders in response to security concerns. Self-organized, spontaneous returns are expected to continue.
Current prospects and sustainability of voluntary, safe and dignified repatriation to Syria remain challenged by persisting obstacles to return, such as insecurity, housing, land, and property issues, and ongoing displacement within the country due to violence. Syrians under temporary protection who make a free and informed choice to return are processed under voluntary return procedures regulated by Turkey’s legal framework. Monitoring movements back to Syria remains a priority for the Government and 3RP partners alike.
However it is not expected that the numbers will increase to a level that will have a significant impact on the planning figures for 2019. Support to Syrians under temporary protection as well as the communities who host them thus remains a priority for 2019.
The Government of Turkey has shouldered the bulk of the financial burden of the refugee response in Turkey. According to the latest estimates, the Government of Turkey has invested more than US$ 37 billion in hosting Syrians under temporary protection. With the crisis in Syria continuing and the refugee situation remaining increasingly protracted,
Turkey is calling for increased international responsibility sharing to ensure that the needs of Syrians under temporary protection and the host communities are met.
The 3RP works in support of this investment and is complementary to support provided by development partners such as the international financial institutions (IFIs).
Since its introduction in 2015, US$ 2.83 billion have been received through the 3RP for the Turkey response. Available data shows that US$ 3.5 billion have been made available in support to public institutions for the refugee response since the start of 2017 through the 3RP, international financial institutions and bilateral support. This includes support to municipalities, the public health, education and social service system as well as ISKUR, the Turkish employment agency.
Turkey, thanks to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection , as well as the Temporary Protection Regulation adopted on the basis of the law, continues to provide Syrian refugees with access to national systems such as health, education, employment and social services. The 3RP has been developed within this framework and will support the Government of Turkey in implementing it.
The Temporary Protection Regulation allows Syrians to access health care under the same premises as Turkish nationals.
Over time, local hospitals scaled up to respond to the most acute needs but areas hosting large numbers of Syrians faced high demands on resources and ultimately the quality of services was impacted. The health sector worked 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.
These migrant health centres operate as part of the Turkish community health centres system and provide a network of primary health care services that alleviate the pressures placed on hospitals. Through the opening of 151 out of 179 planned migrant health centres, access to health care has continued to increase by reducing language barriers and increasing human resource capacity and the threats to quality reduction have slowed down.
Similar advancements are seen in the education sector with the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) continuing to promote the inclusion of Syrians under temporary protection in the national education system. More than 646,000 Syrian children of school age (5-17 years) are enrolled in formal education and just over 20,000 students are attending tertiary education. Syrian volunteer education personnel continue to play a key role in the education of Syrian children. Socioeconomic factors have a marked effect on school enrolment, attendance and retention. 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 barriers. The CCTE programme aims to promote regular school attendance and provides higher cash amounts for girls and for secondary school students enrolled in formal education. The programme has taken a unique approach integrating social protection, child protection, education, social cohesion and sustainability components.
People with specific needs, in particular women and children at risk, continue to be a priority for the 3RP. 3RP partners have worked to strengthen capacities to provide targeted protection assistance, including in preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence (GBV), providing protection responses and psychosocial support to children and supporting Syrians under temporary protection in accessing legal and other specialized services. The expansion of safe spaces for women, youth and children has been prioritized as well as the provision of primary and secondary child protection services. The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS) has continued to respond to identified needs and has strengthened its outreach capacity to manage protection cases. This includes specialized services for women and children such as safe spaces and shelters.
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 the inception of the ESSN in 2016, over 1.44 million vulnerable individuals have benefited from the programme as of October 2018. The ESSN, when combined with other complementary cash-based assistance interventions, supported over 1.5 million Syrians under temporary protection with cash transfers aligned with the national social welfare system. In addition, the expansion of the national CCTE programme to include all refugee children in 2017 was a significant achievement and during the 2017/2018 school year, 368,090 Syrian children (61 per cent of those enrolled) benefited from the CCTE programme. The CCTE programme also includes a strategic child protection component to ensure the continued school enrolment and attendance of the most vulnerable refugee children as well as their referral to child protection services, when needed.
Municipalities have acted as first responders in addressing the impact of the population increase. The increase in demand continues to strain infrastructure and accessibility of services, in particular waste and waste management, public transportation and fire-fighting services. Since 2014, US$ 53M have been mobilized by 3RP partners to support municipalities. The support between 2016 and 2018 tripled in value from US$ 8M in 2016 to 25M for 2018-2019.
In addition to access to health, education, social and municipal services, the legal framework also grants Syrians under temporary protection access to the labour market and employment services. In January 2016, the Regulation on Work Permits of Refugees under Temporary Protection (hereafter Work Permit Regulation) was adopted, granting all beneficiaries of temporary protection the right to apply for work permits and access to formal employment. This is expected to enable an increasing number of Syrians under temporary protection to become more selfreliant and resilient. As of 31 October 2018, a total of 60,822 work permits have been issued to Syrian nationals (of which 32,199 are granted to Syrians under temporary protection), while the rest are Syrian nationals who have a residence permit).
Syrians under temporary protection are mainly engaged in the informal sector of the economy, including due to administrative and social barriers such as language barriers.
According to a study conducted in 2017, only 15 per cent of Syrian women reported that they worked in income generating jobs