Turkey: providing cash assistance to over 1.5 million refugees through EU funding
Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world, hosting more than 4 million refugees, many of them from Syria, fleeing a ten-year conflict. Thanks to European Union funding and a partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Turkish Red Crescent Society, 1.5 million refugees living in Turkey are receiving humanitarian support through cash assistance.
4 million people
are registered as refugees
3.6 million Syrian refugees
are living in Turkey
Over 98% refugees
are living outside of camps
Funded by the European Union and its Member States under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) provides monthly cash assistance via debit cards (also known as the “Kızılaykart“) to vulnerable refugees in Turkey.
Every month, each family member receives 155 Turkish Lira (approximately 16 euros), enabling them to decide for themselves how to cover essential needs like rent, transport, bills, food and medicine. The programme offers additional quarterly top-up payments, based on family size and those who require specialized care.
The ESSN is the largest humanitarian programme in the history of the EU and the biggest humanitarian cash programme globally. The IFRC, Turkish Red Crescent and the EU work in close coordination with the Government of Turkey and its Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services.
80% of families
are able to afford their basic necessities like food, rent and utilities
1 in 2 people
have said the cash assistance helped manage their debt
77% of families
are able to maintain an adequate nutritious diet
“We lost everything during the war. We came to Turkey and started from zero. The assistance has been crucial for us to pay the rent and bills. Turkish Red Crescent changed our life. I attended courses, became more active, I feel powerful.”
– Kevser took shelter in Turkey with her family to avoid the war in Syria.
The IFRC has been leading large-scale cash programmes for decades in response to a broad spectrum of disasters around the globe. Cash is a very effective, efficient and transparent way to provide humanitarian assistance to those most vulnerable. Providing cash can help humanitarian aid go even further to help more people in need.
Cash gives families the freedom, dignity and independence to take control of their own lives and allows them to engage with and contribute to the communities that are hosting them. Many refugees are unable to reach basic goods and services due to years-long displacement and limited access to the job market. Having access to a fixed amount of money every month gives them the ability to choose and the independence they need to address their families’ needs.
Cash support can have longer-lasting positive impacts than other kinds of aid as it takes into consideration the conditions and needs specific to each person, community and emergency.
This web page covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.