Academic warns of integration problems due to low-skilled Syrians in Turkey

Academic warns of integration problems due to low-skilled Syrians in Turkey

Bülent Sarıoğlu - ANKARA
Academic warns of integration problems due to low-skilled Syrians in Turkey

A Syrian girl begs in the street of Istanbul as she hugs another child, on February 24, 2016. AFP Photo

While 70 percent of Syrians in Germany are university graduates, only two percent of Syrians in Turkey are skilled workers, a senior academic at Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center has said, warning over the difficulties of integrating Syrians in the country.

Murat Erdoğan predicted that the number of Syrians in Turkey is forecast to exceed four million by 2026.

“We are talking about a Turkey where 45,000 Syrian babies are born every year. If we fail to manage this process it will be disastrous,” he said, briefing a parliamentary sub-committee on refugee rights. 

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan announced on his Twitter account that as of March 10, the official number of Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey since the civil war broke out has reached 2,733,784. Of these refugees, 282,815 are being hosted at 26 camps around the country, he added.

Speaking at the parliamentary committee earlier in the week, Erdoğan said the total number of refugees in Turkey - including those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Iraq - was around 3,200,000. 

Over 52 percent of all refugees in Turkey are under 18, he added. 

“Over the last four years, a very sizable portion of these children have not had any schooling. We also know that the quality of schooling for those who have seen education is not very good. Some have been living in camps for four years. Supposedly they are being given Turkish courses, but many cannot even speak enough Turkish to be able to say their names,” Erdoğan said. 

“Every day 125 babies are born. This number will increase and I think we will be talking about more than four million Syrians by 2026,” he added, urging the authorities to take stronger measures to deal with potential problems. 

“The number of Syrians in Turkey with a skilled profession appears to be only two percent. In Germany, the number of Syrians who are university graduates is 70 percent, while only five percent are illiterate. In Turkey, however, 50 percent of Syrian refugees are illiterate and only 40,000 of them say they are university graduates,” Erdoğan told the committee.

“These children, who come from traumatized regions and who have fled bombs and executioners, will soon become discriminated people in Turkey. They will become people from whom others distance themselves, asking ‘Is he Syrian?’ This will lead to other kinds of aggression and disharmony,” he warned.

“So far the number of Syrians with a criminal record is low. But many are only now getting adapted to the system. They have come from a dictatorship and criminal incidents are only likely to increase. We need to be prepared for this,” Erdoğan added.