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Turkey: 3RP Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2017-2018 in Response to the Syria Crisis

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Over the course of 2016, Turkey continued to make progress in the protection of and assistance to refugees in the country. On 15 January 2016, Turkey announced the much anticipated Regulation on Work Permit of Refugees Under Temporary Protection granting all beneficiaries of the Temporary Protection (namely Syrians, stateless persons and Palestinians from Syria) access to formal employment. This exemplary move allows for increased self-reliance and additional opportunities for refugees in Turkey and paves the way for scaling up the resilience programming in the 3RP.

Turkey hosts the world’s largest number of refugees and asylum-seekers. Since the beginning of 2016, the number of Syrians in Turkey has remained at a relatively stable level as no major arrivals into Turkey took place over the course of the year. The Government of Turkey officially maintains an “open door policy” towards Syrians, while Turkey’s Syrian border is increasingly strictly managed due to, inter alia, security concerns. In January 2016, the Government introduced a new policy, requiring Syrians to obtain a visa before entering Turkey by air or sea.

Taking into account these factors, the 2017-2018 3RP planning figures remain based on the previously stated figure of 2,750,000 Syrians in Turkey, of which 300,000 would reside in camps and 2,450,000 live within host communities. These figures will be revisited in 2017, taking into account updated population movement trends as the situation in Syria evolves, and information made available following the planned verification project managed by the Government of Turkey, which aims to verify the registration data of Syrians in Turkey.

Turkey’s 3RP has consistently stood out for its strong national ownership and leadership, with UN and NGO partners playing a support role to the Government of Turkey and the established national asylum framework. The Temporary Protection Regulation provides Syrians in Turkey with access to education, health care and the labour market. The Government is also establishing an Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) to assist the most vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey. The fact that the Government of Turkey leads the crisis response and provides services to the impacted communities is essential for the sustainability of the response. As the refugee situation becomes more protracted, support to national and local systems, with a strong focus on supporting women, children and youth, remains critical to strengthen resilience, and to address the increase and change in demand for services.

While the legal framework is in line with international standards, significant gaps remain in terms of both resources and capacities. Increased institutional capacity support, technical expertise, equipment and improved infrastructures for service provisions are needed at both national and local levels to enable the effective and harmonised application of the national asylum framework and relevant legislation across the country.

Boosting national and local capacity remains a key area for 3RP partners to ensure the quality and sustainability of the refugee and resilience response in Turkey. This includes support to relevant Government counterparts to implement the newly introduced Regulation on Work Permits and other relevant legislation.

As of October 2016, the Government of Turkey announced that it had contributed over USD 12 billion in support of Syrians in Turkey since the beginning of the crisis. Over 90 percent of the Syrian refugees have been hosted in communities in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Such generosity and hospitality from the host community members cannot be accounted for statistically, but deserves to be acknowledged and praised.

As the Syrian crisis continues unabated, the social cost of hosting 2.75 million Syrians has the potential to lead to increased tensions, especially in locations where the refugee population is close to or has outnumbered the local population. Strengthening support to host communities as well as national and local infrastructures to promote social cohesion is therefore a priority.
The 2017-2018 3RP is the first fullyfledged two-year response plan for Turkey, aiming at providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable Syrians, especially those in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, as well as strengthening medium to long-term resilience interventions.

The Protection Sector will pursue four main objectives in relation to improved access to territory and effective protection under national legislation; strengthened community-based protection involving communities, authorities and civil society; prevention and response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) and enhanced child protection with a specific focus on youth and adolescents.

The Education Sector aims to increase access to a continuum of formal and non-formal educational opportunities including early childhood education, schooling, language and skills training, higher education for Syrian children, youth and adults and to enhance the quality of education programmes provided, while strengthening a resilient national education system.

The Food Security Sector aims to improve living standards of vulnerable Syrian refugees and host communities by promoting their economic self-sufficiency and reducing negative coping strategies through coordinated in-kind and cashbased, food, agriculture and nutrition programming. The overall objectives of the Basic Needs Sector are to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable refugees, and to strengthen the capacities of national and local institutions to provide welfare and public services benefitting both refugees and host community members to promote social cohesion.

The Health Sector will promote equitable access by Syrian refugees to quality health and disease prevention services. Through continuous support to the Ministry of Health’s efforts, it aims to improve access to interpreters and ensure that culturally appropriate services are provided in a way that supports Syrians’ participation in their own health care decisions and wellbeing.

The objective of the Livelihoods Sector is to improve job and livelihoods opportunities for Syrians and host community members, including: skills training; awareness raising on employment regulations; strengthening of service provider capacities, amongst others, on the implementation of the new Regulation for Work Permit; and support to stronger labour absorption capacities in partnership with the private sector.