Turkey hosts the greatest number of refugees in the world

Turkey is a richly historical country which has, for centuries, bridged east and west.

Map of MSF's activities in Turkey, 2015Home to more than 79 million people, modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa Kemal. He was later honoured with the title Ataturk, or ‘Father of the Turks’.

Under his leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders first worked in Turkey in 1999. Since then, we have responded to natural disasters, such as the 2011 earthquake, and provided healthcare for refugees and migrants.

Today, MSF is supporting civil society organisations who are working with Syrian refugees.

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MSF’s work in Turkey: 2015

Over 2.5 million Syrians had sought refuge in Turkey by the end of 2015.

The situation for Syrian refugees living in Turkey remains extremely difficult: the vast majority are living in poor conditions in urban slums, with few work opportunities and limited access to medical care. Since the Syrian conflict started in 2011, more than 67,000 Syrian children have been born in Turkey.

In June, MSF was granted authorisation by the Turkish authorities to carry out medical and humanitarian activities for the growing number of refugees in the country.

© Diala Ghassan/MSF

Working on the Syrian–Turkish border

In Hatay, in collaboration with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), MSF carries out reconstructive surgery missions. We also support the mental health clinic run by the UOSSM.

In Kilis, we work with the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, whose clinic provides basic healthcare, including mental health services, to Syrian refugees. The clinic conducted 35,636 outpatient and 10,508 antenatal and postnatal consultations in 2015.

In late December, in partnership with Physicians Across Continents (PAC), we opened a new facility in Gaziantep offering free healthcare to Syrian women and children. A Syrian team of gynaecologists and midwives provides ante- and postnatal care, family planning services and gynaecology consultations; PAC covers paediatric care.

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Şanlıurfa province

We continued to support partner organisation Hayata Destek (Support to Life) in the implementation of a mental healthcare programme for Syrian refugees.

In May, a water and sanitation project was completed in Suruç, providing latrines, showers and water for refugees from Kobanê, Syria, who had been living in temporary camps since September 2014.

From June to September in Akçakale, in collaboration with Hayata Destek, we distributed food and hygiene items to 20,000 refugees displaced from Tal Abyad in Syria.

Towards the end of the year, security deteriorated significantly in the southeast of the country, which is predominantly Kurdish. We are monitoring the situation.

find out more in our international activity report

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