CRRF - UNHCR

Verification of the Personal Data of Syrian Nationals

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 1
Actors: Goverments
CRRF Objectives: Objective 1

In 2017, the verification exercise was launched in coordination with UNHCR to update identification information (on GöçNet database) of Syrians who started to come to Turkey in April 2011, sort out duplicate registrations, update address and contact information and identify family ties. It is aimed with the data verification exercise to ensure that the most up-to-date data of Syrians in Turkey is available in the records, use the most accurate data in public planning and ensure smooth service delivery in line with these data. In addition, new, secure identification cards are issued to Syrians whose identification information has been updated on the system. Another important aspect of the data verification exercise is that it helps to identify vulnerable Syrians and refer them to public institutions and organisations. Furthermore, persons of concern identified at protection desks that are also a part of the verification exercise are also prioritised in resettlement procedures. Up until now, personal data of 2,594,680 Syrians have been verified within the scope of the exercise.

Overcoming language barriers

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 2
Actors: Goverments
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

One of the most serious problems encountered regarding foreigners under international protection and temporary protection in Turkey hosting the highest number of refugees in the world is language barrier. The need for interpreters came into prominence as one of the most important requirements when Provincial Directorates of Migration Management (PDMMs) became operational as of 18 May 2015. All procedures such as registration and interview procedures regarding foreigners, change of province of residence, issuance of travel permit, certificate of legal capacity to marry, etc. are conducted through interpreters.

The cooperation with UNHCR in meeting the need for interpreters which is the most important factor in provision of services by Provincial Directorates of Migration Management made significant contribution to overcoming the language barrier. Specifically, the provision of interpreters to the provinces highly populated by Syrians has increased the speed and quality of services. As of July 2018, a total of 228 interpreters, most of whom are Arabic and Farsi interpreters, have supported our activities and tasks at PDMMs and played a central role in the strengthening of our organisation.

Durable Solutions in Turkey

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 4
Actors: Goverments, United Nations agencies, Member States
CRRF Objectives: Objective 3

After it became operational in 2014, DGMM began to play an active role in resettlement procedures through the referral pathways. As a result of the EU-Turkey Statement, resettlement quotas have increased rapidly which led the DGMM’s capacity to develop accordingly. Both in terms of registration and resettlement procedures, DGMM expanded its coverage all around Turkey through its Provincial Directorates (PDMMs). All these processes have been supported by the respective UN Agencies from the beginning by providing trainings and contributing to capacity development of staff.

A resettlement referral system for Syrian refugees was established where the Turkish migration authorities (DGMM) send lists of referrals collected across the country, to UNHCR for assessment of the cases for potential resettlement. These lists are identified by the local provincial authorities since early 2015 and during the verification exercise which was launched in late 2016.

Strengthening the National Health System in Turkey

Country or region: Europe, Turkey
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 3
Actors: Goverments, United Nations agencies
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

Turkey is the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world. The WHO Emergency Operation team in Ankara supports the Ministry of Health in dealing with the protracted Syrian refugee emergency. In line with the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), activities focus on strengthening national health system to cope with an additional three million people by expanding culturally-sensitive primary healthcare, providing immunization services, addressing mental health needs, and leading the health sector response.

A specific area of intervention was identified in Primary Health Care, providing linguistic and culturally sensitive healthcare was a crucial step in the humanitarian response. In order to do so, an innovative approach was adopted: the doctors and nurses needed to serve the three million refugee population would have been identified among the Syrian themselves. This approach was directly addressing linguistic barriers and human resources need, empowering and building resilience for refugees and host communities.

In order to do so the Turkish Government, in consultation from WHO, has drafted a law in 2016, which authorizes Syrian health professionals to provide medical treatment to Syrian refugees in Turkey. To accommodate this, the Ministry of Health (MoH) planned to open Refugee Health Centers (RHCs) in approximately 260 locations across Turkey.

Within these RHCs, approximately 700 Refugee Health Units (RHUs) are being established (primary health care centers), each to be staffed with one Syrian doctor and one Syrian nurse to treat Syrian patients under the supervision of Provincial Public Health Directorates. In these RHCs, medical services to Syrian patients are currently provided by Turkish doctors with the assistance of translators.

Before the Syrian health professionals can work in these RHCs, they need to successfully complete a WHO training programme, which serves to qualify the Syrian health care providers to obtain their work permits. The training is both theoretical and practical, the latter takes place in the Refugee Health Training Centers (RHTCs). The trainings aim to teach the health personnel how to operate in the Turkish national health system. In 2017, WHO provided adaption classroom trainings to approximately 750 Syrian doctors and 500 Syrian nurses. Approximately 500 of them also completed the six-week joint WHO-MoH practical trainings in Refugee Health Training Centers, enabling them to obtain a work permit and to be recruited by the Ministry to serve in ‘Refugee Health Centres’ (PHC units all across Turkey). Recruitment is ongoing (approx. 300 already hired) and in 2017 the seven Refugee Health Training Centers have been continuously providing linguistically- and culturally-sensitive consultations to refugees and migrants.

Teacher Incentives Programme for Syrian Volunteer Teachers

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 3
Actors: Goverments, United Nations agencies
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

In November 2014, UNICEF, together with the Ministry of National Education (MoNE), introduced a Teacher Incentive Programme in an effort to enhance the quality of education provided to Syrian refugee children enrolled in temporary education centres (TECs) across Turkey.

The programme aims to retain qualified Syrian volunteer teachers, improve their technical capacity, morale and motivation in the classroom, mitigate the need to resort to negative coping mechanisms (such as sending their own children into early marriage or the labour market) – and as a result promote a safe and protective learning environment for Syrian children in Turkey.
Teacher eligibility and selection is determined by MoNE according to agreed-upon standards, and in coordination with the targeted provinces and temporary education centres (TECs). In order to qualify for incentives, teachers must work in a MoNE-accredited school for at least 20 hours per week.

Incentive rates were initially set at USD $150/month for teachers in camps and $220 for teachers in host communities, raising it in 2015 to 600 Turkish Lira (approximately US $200) for teachers in camps and 900 Turkish Lira (approximately $300) for teachers in host communities. In 2016, after discussions and agreement with MoNE, the incentive rate increased again to 1,300 TL for teachers in both camps and host communities, which roughly corresponds to the legal minimum net wage in Turkey.

Higher education in Turkey

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 3
Actors: Goverments
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

UNHCR initiated two complementary programmes to promote access to higher education programmes by refugee youth. Both programmes are implemented in partnership with the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), the State entity responsible for the management of the Turkish government’s international scholarship programme, Turkiye Burslari. The first programme provides students with scholarships to attend a nine-month intensive language instruction programme to meet the language proficiency requirements for admission to Turkish universities. The second programme offers a comprehensive scholarship package through UNHCR’s global scholarship programme, known by its German acronym, DAFI. At the start of 2017, 820 scholarship holders were enrolled in university or university preparation programmes through this initiative. The cooperation modality with YTB means that administrative elements of scholarship management are aligned with those used in the management of the Government of Turkey’s international scholarship programme.
UNHCR is also contributing to the Turkiye Burslari programme by supporting 354 scholarships for refugee youth in Turkey.

The programme is considered an example of good practice as it illustrates burden sharing between an international organisation and a government partner with the intervention building on existing interventions. Through cost-savings derived from the association with YTB, it is possible for these UNHCR-supported programmes to reach more beneficiaries. The interventions also enable more students to benefit from the Government of Turkey’s policies that facilitate refugees’ access to higher education through a waiver of academic tuition fees for Syrian students.

Investment in higher education for refugees combines both the need to provide immediate assistance and longer-term investment in the refugee community to ensure that youth have access to meaningful, skilled employment with opportunities to be higher wage earners than if they were unskilled or semi-skilled.

Labour market integration in Turkey

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 3
Actors: Goverments, United Nations agencies
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

The Government of Turkey took significant steps for Syrians under Temporary Protection to be integrated into the labour market. In January 2016 “Work Permit Regulation” (for people under TP) was issued. Through this regulation, integration of Syrians to the formal workforce was accelerated. As a complement, several UN Agencies began to support the efforts of the GoT by their programmes aiming both supply and demand side of labour market through job placements, trainings, grants etc.

The Government of Turkey has also been playing an active role to promote higher education for Syrians under Temporary Protection. As a complement, UN Agencies began to implement similar programmes aiming Syrians in cooperation with respective state institutions and ministries.

Provision of healthcare services has always remained as a focus for the GoT. To facilitate the integration of Syrian healthcare workers to the Turkish system, respective UN Agencies worked in cooperation with the state institutions and ministries.

Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 2
Actors: Goverments
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

In Turkey, the EU-funded Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme, implemented by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy (MoFSP), the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC), and the World Food Programme (WFP), seeks to address basic needs of 1.3 million refugees across the country through the provision of multi-purpose unrestricted cash (MPC). In the ESSN’s design and implementation, several good practices can be observed including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Alignment of the programme with the Turkish welfare system and the leveraging of national capacities: The ESSN represents a hybrid social assistance scheme which, importantly, is anchored on and aligned with government systems and integrates crucial humanitarian safeguards. In designing the programme, it was recognized that addressing needs among off-camp refugees in Turkey would require major capacity and geographical reach; therefore, given their respective capability and their achievements in meeting the needs of Turkish citizens, it was agreed to leverage the government social welfare system and utilize TRC’s extensive capacity and networks to enable timely programme roll-out and scale-up. Accordingly, MoFSP and TRC have assumed the primary role in ESSN implementation, with WFP providing oversight, monitoring, and accountability, and reinforcing WFP and TRC capacity to deliver the programme in a responsible, transparent, and accountable manner. This approach has, simultaneously, helped to ensure value for money and sustainability.

2. Establishment of a Joint Management Cell to optimize coordination between WFP, TRC, and other stakeholders: In an unprecedented approach, a Joint WFP-TRC Management Cell (WFP-TRC JMC) has been set up to optimise collaboration in the management of the ESSN programme and foster the exchange of knowledge between the partners. WFP and TRC staff, fulfilling JMC functions in accordance with their respective roles and capacities, are now co-located in mixed agency thematic teams at the same premises in the Turkish capital, Ankara. To expedite troubleshooting and decision-making on issues identified during the ESSN’s implementation, representatives of MoFSP and the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) are also invited to take part in weekly JMC meetings on an as-needed basis.

Social assistance in Turkey

Country or region: Turkey, Europe
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 2
Actors: Goverments
CRRF Objectives: Objective 2

The Government of Turkey (GoT) has provided social assistance (cash and in kind) in various sectors. The coverage of health services at all stages for Syrians under Temporary Protection and for the persons having registered as international protection applicants contributes to dignified and adequate standards of living for refugee communities living in Turkey. As an extension to those programmes, several programmes covering Syrians under Temporary Protection began to be implemented under the coordination of relevant state institutions. Moreover, in terms of infrastructure development, both the central and local administrations have worked to develop the infrastructure, especially where the refugee population is dense.

Turkey’s reception and admission processes

Country or region: Turkey
CRRF Pillar: Pillar 1
Actors: Goverments
CRRF Objectives: Objective 1, Objective 2

The Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), established in April 2013 under the Ministry of Interior, is entrusted to coordinate the overall registration processes of Syrian refugees, identify people in need and provide safe reception conditions in line with the Temporray Protection Regulation (TPR). The Regulation adopted a rights-based approach enabling access to services, including health, education and labour market aiming to offer Syrian refugees adequate coverage in terms of basic services. UN Agencies contributed to this process in a holistic manner by supporting the responsible institutions in terms of capacity development, sharing of experiences and provision of necessary equipment.

Turkey has demonstrated strong national leadership and ownership since the beginning of the crisis. The national asylum law was endorsed and secondary legislation developed in the past years to strengthen the national asylum regime and define roles and responsibilities of state institutions in the protection of and assistance to refugees.

The Law on Foreigners and International Protection has provisions regulating that foreigners cannot be detained due to their asylum application while asylum applicants can only be detained on the exceptional grounds regulated in the Law. Alternatives to detention shall be prioritised in consideration of any measures concerning the individual applicant.
To support state institutions in service provision to persons of concern, the UN significantly scaled up its support to ministries and local authorities in the past years. One example is the support the Social Service Centres (SSC) under the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, which is tasked to conduct outreach and provide counselling and social assistance to vulnerable Turkish and refugee families. The support provided includes deployment of staff (social workers, counsellors, interprets), equipment and vehicles.

Asylum applicants, status holders, and TP beneficiaries can benefit from the legal aid mechanisms like any citizens in the country. They are in most of the cases exempt from the procedures (such as submission of documentation on their financial means) which the citizens are expected to fulfil.


  • European Commission
    This was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
  • German Humanitarian Assistance