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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article2 December 2021Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Turkey: EU provides further €325 million in humanitarian aid for refugees


Today, the EU has allocated an additional €325 million to extend the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme until early 2023. The ESSN provides more than 1.5 million refugees in Turkey with monthly cash transfers to cover their essential needs. It is the biggest humanitarian programme in the history of the EU, and the world's biggest humanitarian cash assistance programme.

During his visit to Ankara today, Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: “Vulnerable refugees in Turkey have now been able to rely on our humanitarian assistance for more than five years, and we will not let them down. Thanks to the funds announced today, the EU will continue the ESSN programme until early 2023. This support is a critical lifeline for hundred thousands of families, many of whom have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. This cash assistance enables them to decide for themselves what they need most urgently, whilst contributing to the Turkish economy. This is a major achievement for the EU, for our humanitarian partners and the government of Turkey.

The ESSN programme provides vulnerable registered refugees with monthly cash transfers onto an electronic debit card. It helps them pay for what they need most, such as rent, transport, bills, food and medicine. Thanks to a partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Turkish Red Crescent Society, and close coordination with the Turkish government, over 1.5 million refugees living in Turkey receive ESSN support.

The funding announced today is part of the €3 billion package to support refugees in Turkey announced by President von der Leyen following the European Council of 25 June 2021.

During the visit, Commissioner Lenarčič, together with the Secretary-General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain will meet with representatives of the Turkish Red Crescent and the refugees who directly benefit from the ESSN programme.

The Commissioner is due to meet high-level Turkish representatives: Fuat Oktay, Vice President; Faruk Kaymakçı, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Derya Yanık, Minister of Family and Social Services and Yunus Sezer, President of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.


Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide - 4 million people. Some 3.7 million of them are Syrians who fled the ongoing conflict in their country. The vast majority of refugees in Turkey live outside camps.

The European Union funds humanitarian projects in Turkey to help vulnerable refugees and their host communities receive the support they need, including protection services, specialised health care and access to education. 

The ESSN programme was funded under the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey from 2016 until the end of 2020, and is currently sustained by the humanitarian aid budget of the European Union.

In addition to vulnerable refugees in Turkey benefiting from the ESSN, more than 331,000 refugees, who are particularly vulnerable, receive cash assistance through other longer term development projects via the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey since July 2021.

For More Information

EU humanitarian aid in Turkey

Emergency Social Safety Net