Effects of the Syrian refugees on Turkey

Effects of the Syrian refugees on Turkey

Turkey hosts the largest population of Syrian refugees among the countries neighboring Syria. According to the latest official numbers, Turkey hosts over 1.6 million Syrian refugees as of November 2014. However, the actual number of refugees could be around 2 million. In many cities, chiefly those along the border, there are many Syrians who have entered the country through illegal ways and have not been registered yet.

To understand the effects of refugee influx on Turkey, four different field studies were conducted in the provinces of Adana, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Mersin and Kahramanmaraş during a period of three months. This report gives an overview of the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and the effects of the Syrian refugees on Turkey are examined in relation to the economy, social life, security and politics. Because of the unique nature of these effects in each city, it offers a detailed examination of different provinces. In the last chapter, a general conclusion of thestudy and recommendations for improvement of the Syrian refugees’ situation is presented.

Conclusion and recommendations:

  • the initial presence of Syrian refugees on Turkish territory, which was considered temporary at the beginning of the crisis, has now become a permanent one. The permanent nature of the situation is now affecting the psychology and reactions of both the host community and the Syrians

  • Syrians will stay in Turkey for an extended period of time, and some might spend their whole life in Turkey. If Syrian refugees are to become permanent and a reality for Turkey, measures that will minimise the negative consequences and maximise the benefits need to be introduced

  • it is crucial to create an immigration policy that includes the prevention of reactions from the local communities. The issue should be considered as a social integration problem. There should be a holistic policy covering education, working conditions, accommodation, social services and improving the receptivity of the host community

  • if the integration process works effectively, the Syrian refugee situation might contribute to the diversity and the development of a multicultural structure in Turkey in the long run. In addition, the presence of Syrians can strengthen bonds with neighboring countries and help provide a better environment for economic and political cooperation in the future  


  • with the above realities in mind, many points of action need to be taken into consideration: officially registering all Syrians, increasing the capacity of local hospitals and educational facilities, facilitating work permits, providing more authority to local administrations, co-ordinating between local and central authorities, generating extra capacity and budget for municipalities, creating community leader groups among Syrians, preparing booklets and webpages in Arabic, opening up new living areas in the border cities, increasing international aid, increasing border security, fairly sharing or distributing the refugee burden, developing programs for Turkish people to accept Syrian refugees, correcting the Syrian stereotype, creating a database to understand refugee movements, looking at the issue objectively without political concerns, preventing begging, bolstering the efficiency in law and order, building a capacity for Syrian refugees are the main points of action that should be considered carefully by the authorities