Turkey continues to host the highest number of refugees in the world, with more than 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees in addition to over 365,000 people of other nationalities.
Although, according to the Turkish government, around 295,000 Syrians returned home in 2018, the vast majority remain in urban areas in need of medical, psychological, and social support.
In 2018, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide financial and technical support to local NGOs working with migrants and refugees in Turkey.
For four years, we have been assisting Support to Life, the Association for Protecting and Improving the Rights of Seasonal Agricultural Workers (Metider) and the International Blue Crescent Foundation to run activities for Syrian refugees. These activities include home-based psychoeducation sessions for people with physical disabilities, a psychosocial support program, and the provision of translation services in hospitals to help Syrian patients communicate with medical staff. We also supported a government-initiated vaccination campaign in 2018.
Confident that the local NGOs were able to meet the needs in Sanliurfa, we decided to end our support in June.
Kilis and Istanbul
We worked with the Citizens’ Assembly (CA) on two other projects for migrants and Syrian refugees in Turkey. CA’s mental health and psychosocial support program in Kilis was handed over to another organization in April but continued to provide services for Syrian refugees in the city, while the MSF-supported Nefes Center ran support and advisory services in Istanbul for migrants and refugees who had suffered ill-treatment.
As well as providing technical and financial support to local NGOs, we are engaging in efforts to renew our registration to operate directly.