WFP/Jonny Hogg

3.1 million

Refugees registered in Turkey


Refugees living in camps assisted by WFP in November 2016


Refugees living in communities assisted by WFP in November 2016

The Situation

Turkey has the 17th largest economy in the world with a GDP of $799.54 billion. Female participation in the labor market is only 29.4 percent compared to 70.8 percent for men. Only 39 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 60 percent of their male counterparts.

Turkey now hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. As of June 2016, registered Syrian refugees in the country number at more than 2.7 million, making Turkey host to the highest number of Syrians in the region. More than 268,000 refugees reside in 26 camps, while the vast majority live within host communities.

The Government has demonstrated high leadership and generosity in providing for their humanitarian needs, claiming to have invested $11 billion since the onset of the crisis. Turkey has implemented a temporary protection regime since June 2011, granting Syrians access to basic services such as health care and education. Turkey changed its Syria visa policy to curb illegal entries, while still maintaining an open-door policy. In October 2015, Turkey and the EU agreed on a Joint Action Plan to step up their cooperation on migration management in a coordinated effort to tackle the refugee crisis. The Regulation on the Work Permits for Syrians was passed in January 2016.

World Food Programme's Work

WFP has been present in Turkey since 2012, focused on providing food assistance to vulnerable Syrian refugees through an e-card program with the Turkish Red Crescent. Assisted populations can redeem their e-cards for nutritious food items at contracted supermarkets.

WFP’s e-card program initially provided support to 12,000 Syrians in the Kilis camp in October 2012. Since then, the program has scaled up to reach 150,000 Syrians in eleven camps in southeast Turkey. Last year, the agency also began providing e-cards to Syrian refugees living outside of refugee camps. Right now WFP is working the Turkish Red Crescent, in coordination with the Government of Turkey, to assist 585,000 Syrians living in host communities by December 2016.

In 2016, WFP is expanding its e-card program to assist up to 735,000 Syrians—50 percent of the total camp population and 25 percent of the off-camp population—depending on funding.

These e-cards have been highly successful in terms of people’s satisfaction, efficient use of limited resources and investment into the Turkish economy. People assisted appreciate the flexibility of being able to purchase nutritious and diverse food of their own choosing. Economically, the program provides a high return on investment, allowing for savings of more than 70 percent in food assistance in comparison to the provision of hot meals. It also directly impacts local communities, as people use their rations in shops that are owned, managed and supplied by local retailers. So far, WFP has directly transferred more than $173.4 million through the e-card program.

WFP has a standing history of large-scale procurement of commodities in Turkey to support its operations globally, including Syria and Iraq. Turkey is WFP’s top food commodity supplier with $1.2 billion worth of commodities since 2011. Almost 60 percent of these have been used for emergency food assistance within Syria and the region.

Articles About Turkey

Rasha lives in the Tartous region of Syria, where WFP is supporting farmers. Her family fled Aleppo, where she was born, but she doesn't remember the city.
WFP/Dina El-Kassaby

Six Years in Syria: Innovation on the Front Lines

Today marks the 6th anniversary of the conflict in Syria.

World food program usa

FamilyChef: Najla’s Kabsa from Syria

"As long as I have my health and my family, every day is a special occasion for me,” says Syrian mother Najla as she cooks a family favorite in her…

World food programme

A mother feeds her daughter from a platter of food
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How Do You Feed Over 5 Million People a Month?

The United Nations World Food Programme’s emergency response to the Syria crisis is its largest and most complex operation to date.

Charles Fromm

WFP/Hani Al Homsh

From Port To Plane: How WFP Delivers Aid To Syria

Take a guided tour of the enormous logistical effort behind WFP's emergency operation inside Syria. Starting from a warehouse belonging to one of Turkey’s major food producers to the trucks and…

Victoria Clasen

WFP/Dina El-Kassaby

Faces of The Displaced: Abdulkerim in Turkey

Every year, the U.N. World Food Programme delivers food assistance to 80 million men, women and children across the globe, lifting families out of poverty and hunger when they need…

M.J. Altman

A dish called shorba roz
WFP/Berna Cetin

FamilyChef: Rawa’s Shorba Roz

Welcome to FamilyChef, the World Food Programme (WFP)'s ongoing recipe series exploring the culinary treasures and cooking abilities of refugees who benefit from the agency's cash and vouchers program, an…

Berna Cetin

FamilyChef: Homemade Tebbuli In Turkey

Welcome to the World Food Programme's (WFP) new recipe series: FamilyChef. Explore the culinary treasures and cooking abilities of refugees who benefit from WFP's Cash and Vouchers program, an initiative…

Berna Cetin

Introducing FamilyChef: A New WFP Series On Cooking With Syrian Refugees

Welcome to WFP's new recipe series exploring the culinary treasures and cooking abilities of refugees who benefit from the agency's cash and vouchers program, an initiative that allows families to buy…

World food program usa

Escape from Kobani: 5 Portraits from the Syrian Border

With the standoff for the besieged Syrian town of Kobani intensifying every day, the influx of refugees to Turkish towns like Suruc continues – the majority of them women, children,…

Berna Cetin