One of the biggest highlights for UNHCR Turkey in 2018 was the signing of the Host Country Agreement between the Republic of Turkey and UNHCR in Turkey. To formalize and strengthen UNHCR’s long-standing cooperation with Turkey on refugee and asylum issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey and the High Commissioner signed the Host Country Agreement (HCA) on 1 September 2016. The HCA came into force on 1 July 2018, following the Turkish Grand National Assembly voting in the law on the ratification of the HCA and publishing it in the Official Gazette on 7 March 2018. The HCA will enhance UNHCR’s ability to support the Government in its delivery of protection and assistance to refugees.
UNHCR in Turkey has supported the Directorate General for Migration Management (DGMM) in the closure of six temporary accommodation centres (TACs) and the decongestion of three additional ones. Refugees residing in the TACs were given the option of moving to an urban area in a province of their choice, to another TAC identified by DGMM if their TAC was closed, or to stay in their own TAC if it was decongested. UNHCR supported the relocation of refugees who opted to leave their TACs. A one-off cash relocation assistance package to cover transportation, rent and immediate needs were provided and more than 65 million Turkish Liras were received by 60,490 refugees choosing to move to urban areas. Close to 8,685 refugees opting to move to another TAC received transportation assistance.
In 2018, UNHCR Turkey has submitted over 16,040 refugees for resettlement consideration to 18 different countries, including close to 72% of Syrians and 28% of other nationalities. Resettlement is an integral part of responsibility sharing among the international community, and these efforts ensure that vulnerable refugees are considered for resettlement as a durable solution and are provided with new opportunities to restart their lives in resettlement countries.
Another major highlight of the year was that, as of 10 September 2018, UNHCR phased-out of registration and refugee status determination. UNHCR processed and decided on 5,410 applicants’ refugee status between 1 January and 10 September 2018, at which date, in agreement with the Turkish authorities, UNHCR ceased its refugee status determination activities. The Directorate General of Migration Management is now the sole authority to register and process international protection applications.