Turkey was the country hosting the most refugees in the world in the first half of 2015, with 1.8 million registered refugees on its territory as of June 30, according to a new U.N. report.
The change marks a big shift, as Turkey was not listed in the top 20 refugee-hosting countries until 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report released on Dec. 18.
Syrians accounted for 98 percent of all registered refugees in the country and most of them were located in urban areas. The number of Iraqi refugees in Turkey remained around 20,000.
In the first half of 2015, the number of refugees per 1,000 inhabitants in Turkey was 24, the report stated.
Syrian refugees benefitted from the government's Temporary Protection Regime, it said, adding that Turkey continued to witness high numbers of individual asylum applications registered with UNHCR.
Turkey recorded more than 43,600 asylum applications filed with UNHCR during the first half of 2015, making the country the fourth-largest recipient of individual asylum applications worldwide.
With almost a million people having crossed the Mediterranean as refugees and migrants so far this year, and conflicts in Syria and elsewhere continuing to generate staggering levels of human suffering, 2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for global forced displacement, UNHCR warned in the report.
The global refugee total, which a year ago was 19.5 million, had as of mid-2015 passed the 20 million threshold (20.2 million) for the first time since 1992. Asylum applications were up 78 percent (993,600) over the same period in 2014. And the numbers of internally displaced people jumped by around 2 million to an estimated 34 million.
Indications from the first half of the year suggest 2015 is on track to see worldwide forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time. In a global context, that means that one person in every 122 has been forced to flee their home.
"Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings – both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.