World Bulletin / News Desk
Mehmet Gulluoglu, the Red Crescent’s director general, told Anadolu Agency that since Nov. 28 it has accepted over 150,000 applicants for the “Kizilay Cards,” following a deal between the EU and the Turkish government reached last March.
Gulluoglu 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 [$373 million] in aid," he added.
Working with Turkish and United Nations 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. The country has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
Under the program, each refugee registered by the regional migration office will be given 100 Turkish liras ($28.50) a month.
The debit cards let refugees shop at merchants with Turkish Halkbank debit card machines and withdraw money from ATMs.
Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.