In several news sites and on social media there were frequent allegations that Syrians were put on salary and lining up outside PTT branches in order to get their salaries.
It is not salary but winter aid
Contrary to the allegations, in the provinces with high Syrian refugee density, people lined up before PTT branches in order to get their winter aid provided by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In the website of the United Nations it was stated that for the aid, 50,948 PTT debit cards were delivered and it reached out 254,740 people. The official Facebook page of UNHCR mentioned that an amount of 600 to 900 Turkish Liras was loaded to each card as winter aid for the refugees.
Alongside with the UN, many national and international organizations, as well as several municipalities try to satisfy the needs of Syrian refugees. However, the claims that a salary is provided by the government does not reflect reality.
According to the statement of Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan on March 10, 2016, the number of Syrian refugees fleeing the war to Turkey is 2.733.784 and the number of Syrians staying in 26 temporary refugee centers is 282,815.
According to the statements in the website of Directorate General of Migration Management, Syrians are considered “people under temporary protection” under the law and provided “ temporary protection identity card” by Directorate General of Migration Management under the Temporary Protection Regulations. The identity card is a precondition to benefit from public services, social relief and free health care services. The health care services are covered by AFAD. Moreover, Syrians who are under the status of “temporary protection” can legally work in a workplace but in order to gain work permit documents, employer has to apply to the ministry on behalf of the employee.
Speaking on the matter, Volkan Görendağ, Amnesty International Refugee Rights Coordinator, told teyit.org that there was no such thing as putting up salary to the refugees.
We asked the UN about the criteria to obtain PTT cards, if there is any legal regulation and whether the aid will be repeated in the future, but we have not received any answer yet.
Translation: Ekin Gürel