74 percent of Syrians in Turkey want Turkish citizenship: Poll
İpek Yezdani – ISTANBULSome 74 percent of Syrians who fled their war-torn country to seek a better life in Turkey have said they wanted to obtain Turkish citizenship, according to a poll carried out by the Humanitarian Development Foundation (İNGEV) and IPSOS.
Some 52 percent of the Syrian respondents said they were planning to build their future in Turkey, the poll showed.
The “Refugee Livelihood Monitor” survey aims to periodically track the living conditions of Syrian refugees living outside refugee camps, their general sentiments and their future plans in regards to living in Turkey, as well as their consumption and shopping behavior.
According to the poll, 74 percent of the respondents said they wanted to acquire Turkish citizenship, while the figure for respondents aged between 15 and 17 wanting to become Turkish passport holders was 80 percent.
Some 70 percent of the respondents did not know Turkish, according to the poll.
But 45 percent of the respondents said they had been subjected to discrimination, as 42 percent said they were seeking ways to move to European countries, they poll showed.
In terms of establishing a future for their children in Turkey, 52 percent of the respondents said they wanted to stay, while 44 percent of them said they never thought of leaving the country.
However, the poll indicated that the daily purchasing power of Syrians in Turkey was under two dollars.
The monthly household consumption expenditure of a Syrian family is 867 Turkish Liras, with 140 liras allocated on average for each person.
The percentage of registered and non-registered Syrian workers was 31 percent each. Seventy percent of the Syrian respondents said their working conditions were worse than locals’ conditions.
The number of people living in a Syrian household was revealed to be twice more than the number living in a Turkish household.
The fieldwork for the survey was conducted between April 27 and May 20 in 10 cities hosting the largest Syrian population, with 79 percent of the refugees living in Istanbul, Şanlıurfa, Hatay, Gaziantep, Adana, Mersin, Kilis, Mardin, Bursa and İzmir. A total of 1,282 face-to-face interviews were carried out.
The founder and head of İNGEV, Vural Çakır, said 90 percent of Syrians living outside camps were registered, stating that 93 percent of them have temporary IDs in the eastern provinces of Turkey.
Ninety percent of Syrians in the southern provinces have temporary IDs, however the lowest number of temporary IDs were in western cities, according to Çakır.
The survey also showed that most Syrians in Turkey did not have personal bank accounts and less than 2 percent of them have credit cards.
“Approximately all Syrian refugees are excluded from the country’s finance system. However, refugee entrepreneurship is an important issue. Temporary IDs are not enough to open a bank account for Syrian citizens; they should have a residency document, too. The financial exclusion of refugees needs to be resolved,” Çakır said.
Meanwhile, nine out of 10 respondents said they did not receive any social aid.
Some 13 percent of Syrian refugees receive social aid at least once during their time in Turkey, while 6 percent of them are receiving regular social aid from the government, according to the poll.
Only 31 percent of Syrian refugees are actively taking part in the labor market, with 17 percent of them working under a Turkish employer.
Five percent of them are working with Syrian employers and 5 percent of the respondents said they were working on their own.
Half of the respondents said they were not working or seeking jobs, but 24 percent of Syrians were seeking jobs in Turkey, the poll showed.
Some 64 percent of the respondents said they were hopeful about their future.