Thousands of refugees in Turkey apply for aid cards

Published 28.01.2017 00:00

Thousands of refugees across Turkey have applied for special debit cards for refugees, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Turkish Red Crescent, also known as Kızılay.

Director General of the Turkish Red Crescent Mehmet Güllüoğlu told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that since Nov. 28, his institution has accepted over 150,000 applications for the "Kızılay Cards," following a deal between the EU and the Turkish government last March.

Güllüoğlu said the program is the EU's largest-ever humanitarian program. Last December "we started to distribute the cards. The number [to benefit from the cards] is expected to reach a million refugees with nearly 350 million euros [$373 million] in aid," he added.

Working with Turkish and United Nations (U.N.) officials, the EU Humanitarian Aid Commission launched the program to curb migrant flows to the bloc and help Turkey's nearly 3 million refugees, most of them Syrian.

Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. It has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Under the program, each refugee registered under the regional migration office will be given TL 100 a month.

The debit cards let refugees shop at merchants with Turkish Halkbank debit card machines and/or withdraw money from an ATM.

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