Turkey is prone to natural disasters including floods, landslides, and earthquakes, and is affected by the mass influx of refugees and displaced persons in neighboring countries. Turkey has a history of natural disasters such as the 1999 earthquake in the Marmara region and the 2011 earthquake in Van province. Moreover, Turkey shares 822 km long border with Syria and 331 km long border with Iraq receiving thousands refugees and copes with the implications of the Syrian crisis. As of 07 January 2015, Turkey hosts over 1,060, 279 Syrian refugees in camps, towns and cities providing humanitarian assistance via the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and numerous NGOs.
OCHA signed a Plan of Action with AFAD in March 2013 to strengthen the two institutions’ partnership in humanitarian response. The plan foresees greater cooperation in information management, strategic and operational coordination, advocacy and capacity building to ensure more effective preparedness and response to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Through this Plan of Action, OCHA and AFAD work with Turkish NGOs to enable them to better benefit, support and participate in humanitarian multilateral mechanisms and efforts.
OCHA Turkey is one of the four OCHA hubs that will implement the Syria Strategic Response Plan 2015 collectively in the spirit of the Whole of Syria approach. The Whole of Syria approach brings together humanitarian actors working from inside Syria or neighbouring countries for the first time, aimed at increasing the overall effectiveness of the response. The Whole of Syria approach has five priority areas; protection, life-saving assistance, resilience, harmonized coordination, and enhanced response activity.
To that end, OCHA Turkey supports cross-border humanitarian assistance operations under UN Security Council resolutions 2139, 2165/2191 and coordinates the cross-border response of humanitarian partners to the Syrian crisis from Turkey. OCHA Turkey works with humanitarian partners including international and Syrian NGOs and government authorities to share information, exchange expertise and promote greater collaboration to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Syria.