What are the needs?

Turkey is currently hosting some over 3.1 million registered refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistanand Somalia, which is having a significant impact on the host communities and budget resources. The majority of refugees have fled the conflict in Syria – the world's largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Turkey is providing important assistance to the refugees, in particular inside the camps, but up to 90% of these people are living outside camps.

While the international response so far has been primarily humanitarian, the protracted nature and the scale of the crisis calls for a more comprehensive approach, including also stabilisation and development assistance. This is now the favoured approach by the international aid community

How are we helping?

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) supports emergency humanitarian assistance programmes, primarily focussed on life-saving activities in various sectors, including health, food security and livelihood support, water and sanitation,protection and education in emergencies. As a matter of priority, ECHO emphasises the need to target the most vulnerable and under-served individuals and families among the refugee community. Since November 2015, the European Commission and the EU Member States have also been working together to set up the 'Refugee Facility for Turkey', a €3 billion fund which will support humanitarian aid and development projects for refugees residing in Turkey in 2016 and 2017.


Additional assistance to address the refugee crisis in Turkey comes from other EU channels, notably the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and the Instrument for contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) as well as the EU Trust Fund (Madad).

The total funding provided by the EU to Turkey since the beginning of the Syria crisis, including humanitarian aid as well as longer-term assistance (but not counting the new funding made available under the 'Refugee Facility for Turkey') amounts to €350 million.

EU humanitarian funding is provided in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

Factsheet on Humanitarian Aid – September 2016




 EU Support to Turkey in the Syrian Crisis

The EU, as the leading donor in the Syrian refugee crisis, will continue to support Turkey in facing the impact and manifold consequences of this unprecedented humanitarian emergency. Moreover, additional assistance will be provided through the existing instruments and the EU Trust Fund.

The EU is involved in both humanitarian aid and longer-term development needs (e.g. livelihood). The EU interventions focus on education (children's education and vocational training), women's needs, and strengthening local resilience capacities (for refugees and host communities).

The complementary approach of the EU takes into account the Regional Refugee Resilience Plan (3RP) of the United Nations and seeks substantial cooperation with Turkish authorities and other international donors.

  Facts & Figures (As of February 2016 according to UNHCR/AFAD figures)
Syrian refugees EU Funding*

Number of registered refugees in the neighbouring countries (Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon):

Over 4.5 million

EU funding since the beginning of the crisis (April 2011 to the present)Total EU Funding:

5 billion €

Official estimate of the total number of registered and non-registered

Over 2.6 million

Member States' support:

2 billion €
* Part of the 4 bin €

Number of registered refugees:

2.6 million

EU Funding in Turkey Humanitarian aid:

71 million €

In-camp refugees:

Over 270,000
in 25 camps

Non-humanitarian aid:

283 million €

*The EU financial support in Turkey is mainly given to the UN agencies (UNDP, UNHCR, etc.) for implementation.

 EU Instruments

Background Information

The Syrian conflict has triggered the world's largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. The impact in Turkey, which is hosting the largest refugee population from Syria, has been enormous on host communities and budget resources. Turkey has been providing tremendous assistance to the refugees, in particular inside the camps. While the response has been primarily humanitarian, the nature and the scale of the crisis mean that refugees are likely to stay for a longer period. This requires rethinking assistance and increasingly focussing on integration and coexistence between host communities and the Syrian "guests".

Various instruments are used by the EU in a complementary approach to support Turkey in an optimal way:

  • The European Commission's Humanitarian Office (ECHO) supports emergency humanitarian assistance programmes, primarily focussed on life-saving activities in various sectors, including health, food security and livelihood support, water and sanitation, core relief items, and other protective measures. As a matter of priority, ECHO emphasizes the need to target the most vulnerable and under-served individuals and families among the refugee community, while the search for more durable solutions continues.
  • The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) - formerly Instrument for Stability (IfS) - is mobilised as a EU external assistance instrument helping to respond to an actual or emerging crisis, to complement EU humanitarian responses and longer-term assistance. The IcSP is therefore available in-between short-term (ECHO) and longer-term assistance (through EU instruments such as IPA) to ensure the continuity of EU interventions.
  • The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is available for medium- to long-term support with a greater focus on strengthening Turkish institutions (capacity-building, legislative alignment) in view of EU accession preparations.
  • Since 2012, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) has also been contributing by promoting and defending migrants' and refugees' rights in Turkey.
  • The newly established EU Trust Fund (EUTF or Madad Fund) will provide additional financial resources to respond to the huge and increasing needs in the region. The EUTF is open to all EU Member States, as well as to other donors, public or private. It aims to strengthen the resilience of affected communities and ensure access to non-humanitarian basic services (e.g. resilience, education, health, water and sanitation, support to livelihoods, women, etc.) in a flexible manner.

"The magnitude of the Syria crisis is testing the capacities of the entire international aid system. The needs are overwhelming and an extraordinary effort is needed by the wider donor community to mobilise significant funding. With our substantial contribution, the European Union - Commission and the Member States - shoulders its responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people," said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4732_en.htm

 Everyday Heroes of Syria

35-year-old Abdullah Balcioglu from Hatay province, Turkey, watched for weeks as once proud Syrian refugees visited his internet shop near the Syrian border trying to find work and a means to support their families. Seeing the same faces each day, and their mounting desperation, Abdullah began to ask the men what skills they had and set about connecting them to friends, family and other local residents who he had heard might need help.

Since the influx started in 2013 he said he has lost track of how many people he has helped find employment. "I help them because it is my duty as a human being. Even if their stay in our village has extended, we still have the responsibility to take care of them". Abdullah said he feels blessed he has the money and network to be able to help some Syrian families "The happiness I feel can't be described with words. My heart is flying away".


Being a community leader (mukhtar) often leaves little time for self or even family. But that has not stopped Ahmet Gür, 57, mukhtar in Fatikili, Hatay province, Turkey, spending every bit of spare energy he has on helping Syrian refugees in his community. Indeed, ask anyone in Hatay where Syrians can go for help, and invariably Ahmet's name is offered.

Whether it be finding warm clothing, food, shelter or helping translate documents from Turkish into Arabic, Ahmet has become the man many Syrian refugees know they can rely on for help. He has an open-door policy at his house, and there is never a time Ahmet said that he is not available to hearing the needs of others.

"I never reject people who have come all this way to my home. If I can't help then I will find someone who can. I have even given away my own clothes and carpets." As for why? "Suffering has to end at some point."


It is a generous act to open your family home to strangers. But that is exactly what 36-year-old Turkish IT consultant Avni Alkan did. For eight months he shared his home with a Syrian refugee family of nine until he was able to find them somewhere safe to rest.

Living just 15 kilometres from the Syrian border in Altinozu, Hatay, Turkey, where tens of thousands of refugees have sought refuge, Avni said he could not sleep well knowing there were so many destitute people outside his own home.

In addition to helping the family, he and his wife also took regular trips to the border where they distributed warm clothes to refugee children. He has also set up an informal "re-housing" group where he connects Syrian refugees in need of homes with Turkish landlords.

"Arabs and Turks have always have very strong ties, especially in Hatay. We help each other as human beings first but also as brothers and sisters". Since 2011, some 1.7 million Syrians have sought shelter in Turkey. Over 15,000 are living in camps in the Hatay province.


 Examples of EU Actions

Humanitarian response to sudden and mass influx emergency situations

ECHO is primarily supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid to refugees living outside of camps, as they constitute 85% of the estimated number of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Through partnerships with international and Turkish agencies - such as the Danish Refugee Council, Welthungerhilfe, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and Hayata Destek (Support to Life) - ECHO ensures that the most vulnerable refugees have access to food and essential items. ECHO is also assisting in supporting the provision of medical services to refugees complementary to those offered by the Government of Turkey. Aid is here channelled through organizations such as the International Medical Corps or Yeryüzü Doktorları.

Photo credit: ECHO

Protection and provision of basic services to out-ofcamp Syrians in Turkey

The European Union, in cooperation with UNHCR, supports the capacity of the Government to provide services like education and health to Syrians under temporary protection. The Government's registration capacity is supported through the provision of equipment and technical assistance. Access to healthcare services is improved through the provision of 12 mobile clinics, 10 ambulances, and first-stage medicine to the Ministry of Health, and hygiene and reproductive health kits to outof-camp Syrians, as well as the expansion of vaccination programmes through the delivery of Vaccine Transportation Vehicles. Support for vocational education will also be channelled through the project. Additional support will be addressed to national institutions through capacity-building programmes and will focus on activities promoting peaceful co-existence between the refugees and their host cities.

Photo credit: ECHO

Enhancing access to services, strengthening the resilience of host communities, and facilitating the integration of refugees

With this project the European Union, in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), will set up two Community Centres (CC) for assisting to out-ofcamp Syrian refugees and host communities in Antakya and Istanbul (Fatih district). Services to be provided by the CCs are expected to enhance refugees' access to, inter alia, primary health care, psycho-social support, legal assistance, and education and vocational training, as well as to alleviate the pressure on local authorities in service delivery to refugees. The project also plans to carry out socio-cultural activities to encourage positive interactions between Syrian refugees and host community members and build social cohesion. Implementation is expected to start in 2015.

Increasing resilience for Syrian children in Turkey

The EU and UNICEF worked togeth-er to ensure that Syrian children and youth in camps have access to safe, participatory, and inclusive education and recreation activities. EU funding enabled UNICEF to support the Turkish authorities (Turkish Red Crescent, Ministry of National Education, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency - AFAD) in providing quality education opportunities to all children and youth, including children with disabilities, which in turn helped restore a sense of stability and continuity. The project supported the capacity-building of youth workers, youth volunteers, Syrian teachers, and education personnel. The provision of educational tools and materials as well as setting up of libraries in camps was also ensured through the project. The project supported the adoption of a code of conduct for Syrian teachers and an education information management system for Syrian teachers and pupils - YOBIS.

"Before going to the Child Friendly Space, I felt like I was in prison. I stayed all the time in our tent. But now there is a place where I can play as I wish."

Halime / 14 years old, from Hama / Living in the Saricam camp in Adana / Photo credit: UNICEF

Support to Turkish Local Authorities in essential service delivery and the improvement of occupational and technical skills for the Syrian refugees and Host Communities of the Southeastern Anatolia Region

The aim of this project, to be implemented in partnership with UNDP, is twofold. Firstly, the project is intended to alleviate pressure on Turkish local municipalities in basic service delivery (especially integrated waste management) to both in-camp refugees and host communities in the province of Sanliurfa. Secondly, it will aim to improve access to employment and livelihood for out-of-camp refugees and host communities in the province of Gaziantep, mainly through the provision of vocational training (in both the industrial and services sectors) and strengthened employment services. The project will see the direct engagement of local actors such as AFAD, the Municipality of Sanliurfa, other local municipalities in this province, the Gaziantep Regional Development Administration, and the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry. Implementation is expected to start in 2015.

Promoting and protecting the human rights of (undocumented) migrant workers

This project was funded by EIDHR and implemented by the Human Resource Development Foundation in Istanbul (January 2013-March 2015). It was designed to promote and protect human rights of (undocumented) migrant workers, and contribute to the development of rights-based policies for these groups. Undocumented migrants are more prone to suffering human rights violations and facing problems in both their employment and living conditions. The project identified human rights violations faced by the migrants, raised awareness of their situation (by publishing a report, distributing brochures, and organising meetings), and provided the migrants with legal and psychosocial support, guidance, and information.