The Social and Economic Impact of Syrian Immigrants in Turkey

By ILA  •  October 12, 2021  •  7 min read

The Arab Spring, having started in Tunisia and under the influence of the countries in North Africa and Arab geography, finally affected Syria, Southern Turkish border. During the war’s early times, Turkey did not expect to see anything like that, and there was no preparation for it. Turkey could not create an institutional memory against the past experience about the refugee theory, and Turkey followed open-door politics against this treacherous picture. Turkey’s refugee-related deficits were noticed only by the massive immigration that began against the country, and serious work on the issue was initiated, such as the establishment of the General Directorate of Immigration. Although Turkey made strategic moves related to the subject, the Turkish people had to confront this issue.

A small number of immigrants arriving in 2011-2012 have been overcome thanks to the kinship relations in the region and the hospitality of the people of Turkey. However, after the number was spoken with millions, the Turkish people were naturally forced about patience. At this point, as the number of Syrian immigrants increased, the effects on Turkey increased proportionally. When we begin to examine these effects, it is the social effects that are first seen and then the economic effects.

Although there are religious, historical, and cultural ties between the peoples of Turkey and Syria, two separate civilizations have been formed with the withdrawal of boundaries over time. This shows that the people of the two countries have the same idea on the main issues, but they live on the consequences of different civilizations on special issues. This is causing some problems with social affairs. For example, a ‘polygamy’ phenomenon has emerged, particularly in the southern regions of Turkey. The family, who looks after her daughter as a future issue for her marriage to a Turkish citizen, remains silent. However, this situation causes serious problems on the part of Turkey. A woman who does not want to hıs husband to marry a second wife may open a divorce case, or she may remain silent. When time passes, the women who endured this situation may suffer from psychological problems. The number of divorce cases and psychological disorders caused by these complaints has increased in southern regions. In this case, the other thing that arises is the girls forced to get married at a young age can lead to raising the question of sexual abuse. Another critical situation that emerged in the region’s provinces is the increase of prostitutes. The Syrians who have to earn money to meet there day to day expenditures are dragged into the sex market. This situation which is a tragic event, has become a normal situation in the southern regions.

However, with the increase in the number of people in the region over time, the concept of ‘responding to unlimited needs with limited resources, which is a ridiculous definition in economics, has become a serious matter. At this point, Turkey’s citizens are the main source of concern. The cruel attitude of Turkish citizens about the employment of Syrians causes other economic problems. The Turkish employer employs a Syrian worker by paying half salaries; also, the Syrian people who are already in full tragedy about the shelter landlords are demanding double prices for rent. In this way, the innocent Syrians are obligated primarily to give rise to the social issues that we just mentioned, and then the Syrian people are being preferred because it is an attractive option for Turkish employers and landlords. This results in the Turkey citizens being angry with the Syrians who are overtaking their rights, properties, and jobs.

As a result, the impact of Syrian immigrants on Turkey can be examined in general under two front social and economic problems. As we have seen above, there are some events that also cause these problems. These are mainly due to the cultural differences, tragic events, and bad attitudes of some Turkish citizens.