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Syrians in Turkey – The Economics of Integration Evaluation Note / Timur Kaymaz & Omar Kadkoy
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08/09/2016 - Viewed 2834 times

In 2016, with over 65 million people, worldwide forced displacement reached the highest level ever recorded. Hosting over 2.7 million Syrians, Turkey is now home to the largest refugee population in the world. As of August 2016, Syrians in Turkey correspond to about 3.5 percent of the country’s total population. Only about 9 percent of this population resides in refugee camps, with the rest being left to their own devices in mostly urban settings. The urban spread of Syrians meant their integration into the Turkish economy and society so far has been through their interaction with local host communities. This type of interaction has proven to be important not only for building bridges between the two communities, but also for enabling Syrians to contribute to the Turkish economy by boosting demand. Recent figures show that the Turkish economy grew by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016, a rate that was largely attributed to private consumption due to wage increases and the Syrian refugees.

However, the demand-boosting effect of the Syrian population will be effective only for the short term. Medium- and long-term plans should be designed to maintain Syrians’ active role in the Turkish economy, while formalizing the terms of their employment. A long-term, sustainable framework of integration for Syrian workers and entrepreneurs is still missing as we near the fifth anniversary of the refugee influx. However, recently, the Turkish government’s policy position on the Syrian population has gradually begun evolving from one of ‘hospitality’ to one of ‘integration’. In this piece we outline the current state of play in terms of economic integration and list potential areas of intervention for local, national and international actors.

You may read full paper from here.

This note was published by The Sharq Forum.

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