One in two Syrians in Turkey will not return to homeland, says report

One in two Syrians in Turkey will not return to homeland, says report

Bülent Sarıoğlu - ANKARA
One in two Syrians in Turkey will not return to homeland, says report

A comprehensive survey about the Syrian immigrants presented to a sub-commission of Turkish Parliament has shown that Syrians were happy in Turkey, and half of them were willing to stay rather than go back to their homeland.

According to the survey by the Migration and Integration Research Center of Turkish-German University in Istanbul, there are officially 3.6 million Syrians living in Turkey.

“Over the period of last three years, it was observed that the rate of happiness amongst Syrians in Turkey has increased rapidly,” said Murat Erdoğan, the manager of the center and the author of the survey report.

The report showed that the percentage of the Syrians who said, “I will never return to Syria,” was 16.7 in 2017. In 2019, it skyrocketed to 51.8 percent.

In 2017, 60 percent of the Syrian migrants said, “If the civil war ends and a government close to my ideology comes to power, I can go back.” The rate fell to 30 percent in 2019.

“This is a tremendous transformation. It seems that they have given up hope for their country. The percent of those planning to return is just 6.8,” Erdoğan stated in an analysis he presented to the parliament’s commission.

As Turkey is granting citizenship rights, more and more Syrians are rooting to become Turkish nationals, according to the report.

“The number of Syrians who want dual-citizenship is decreasing. They prefer only one citizenship, and that is Turkish,” according to the survey report.

Erdoğan pointed out that the mindset of Syrians has changed, highlighting, “Think about the Turks in Germany. They had a country to return to, but they did not. Syrians have no country to go, and they have set their roots here.”

Erdoğan also called the situation no less than a miracle as Turks and Syrians have had no major disputes living together. “The number of people in the camps is just 1 percent. We live with them side to side. Things could have gone worse. I think Anatolian people acted very considerately.”

“Apart from the Syrians, in Turkey, around three million people move to other provinces annually. This fact formed the ‘Accept the new-comer’ mentality in Turkish society,” he added.

Noting that in Germany 530,000 and Sweden 130,000 migrants live and no other country has more than 50,000 Syrians, he said in Istanbul’s Esenyurt District alone, some 220,000 migrants live.

He also pointed out the mindset of people regarding the cultural disparity among Syrians and Turks. “In 2014, the percent of the Turks, who said, ‘We are not culturally equal,’ was 70 percent. Now it is 82. Anxiety in Turkish society is increasing.”

When asked, “Shall we give legal rights to Syrians?” Some 87 percent of the Turks directly refused.

Some of the other topics of the survey report that has been presented to the parliament commission include “600,000 Syrians gave birth in Turkey,” “680,000 Syrian children go to Turkish schools,” and “The percent of the working Syrian women is low, around 6.”