Fewer Syrians want to return to their country: Research

Fewer Syrians want to return to their country: Research

Bülent Sarıoğlu – ANKARA
Fewer Syrians want to return to their country: Research

The percentage of more than 3.5 million Syrians living in Turkey who are making plans to return to their homeland is in decline, a new survey has found.

One in every three Syrian migrants now does not want to go back to Syria even if the nine-year-long civil war comes to an end, the field research conducted by TOBB Economy and Technology University (ETÜ) showed.

“The rate of those saying ‘I wouldn’t return under any circumstances,’ has risen from 26 percent to 33 percent,” said Professor Başak Yavçan, vice chair of the university’s Center for Social Policy Research, comparing the new data with the same survey conducted two years ago.

“The rate of those saying ‘I would certainly return if the war in Syria ends, I would return even if there’s not a regime I admire there,’ has decreased from 9 percent to 5 percent,” she told daily Hürriyet.

Syrians who would return even if the civil war continues on condition that they appreciate those in power have shrunk to 5 percent with a decline of 6 percent, according to the research.

“Considering that everyone has a different imagination [for the next regime], it is not a realistic goal,” said Yavçan.

She noted that after five years living in another country, the tendency for return lessens substantially.

Social distance problems

Social distance between Syrian communities and Turkish locals was also examined as part of the research.

Unsurprisingly, Syrians in employment feel more intimate with locals.

The surprising fact is that Syrians who have become Turkish citizens and those attending university programs act more reserved when mingling with Turks.

“During the interviews, we saw that they get seriously adverse reactions from their Turkish friends when they say that they have become naturalized or they receive a scholarship. That makes them feel offended,” Yavçan explained, adding that some 27,000 Syrians study at Turkish universities.

Some 1 million Syrians residing in Turkey are supposed to be enrolled in education, but only 65 percent of them attend schools.

The schooling rate among Syrian children at primary school age is relatively high with 368,000 of the 382,000 kids enrolled at schools.

However, the rate of schooling slumps in older age groups due to child labor and underage marriage problems, the survey showed.

Syrian refugees,