Turkey continues to be the main host country for refugees from Syria
Since 2016, the EU has been assisting Turkey with the reception and care of refugees and migrants as part of what is known as the EU‑Turkey Statement. Turkey is challenged above all by the unchanged high number of people who have fled the war in Syria. Some 6.7 million people left Syria by the end of 2018, of whom 3.7 million have found refuge in Turkey – a number that poses a great challenge for the country.
Six billion euros in aid since 2016
As part of the EU‑Turkey Statement of 2016, the EU declared its willingness to support Turkey in meeting this enormous challenge. The EU and its member states provided three billion euros in 2016/17 and 2018/19 respectively. These funds are managed and distributed by aid organisations and project partners in the region. The funds have already been fully earmarked for specific projects. Contracts have been signed for 4.7 billion euros, and 3.2 billion euros have already been disbursed.
Direct assistance for daily needs, investments in education, healthcare and infrastructure
A large part of the funds will directly benefit refugees in the region. For example, around 1.7 million people in Turkey currently receive monthly payments from the World Food Programme to cover their basic daily needs. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will take over the administration of the payments from March 2020. Funding will also be provided to support the education of refugee children and investments in community infrastructure such as healthcare facilities and waste disposal.
Agreement based on mutual interest
Another part of the agreement is the EU’s willingness to admit particularly vulnerable Syrian refugees from Turkey. In return, Turkey declared its willingness to help prevent irregular border crossings into the EU and to ensure that the procedures agreed to are complied with. On this basis, the EU member states have taken in a total of over 26,000 particularly vulnerable refugees from Turkey since 2016, 9600 of whom were taken in by Germany. The EU continues to stand by its commitments and likewise expects Turkey to fulfil the obligations that it has voluntarily entered into.