Syrians now make up almost 4 percent of Turkey’s population
ISTANBULNearly four percent of Turkey’s population now consists of Syrians, following the influx of refugees since the start of the civil war in the neighboring country in March 2011.
Over three million Syrians are estimated to be in Turkey, daily Milliyet reported on Sept. 3.
Among the Syrian migrants in Turkey, 1.68 million are male and 1.46 million are female. The Syrian population in Turkey is also overwhelmingly young, with 2.22 million being aged 30 and younger. Some 464,886 are between the ages of 19 and 24.
The overall three million figure almost corresponds to the total populations of Armenia, Lithuania and Albania.
The first step of the massive refugee influx into Turkey came on April 29, 2011, when around 400 Syrians entered Turkey through the Cilvegözü Border Gate in the Yayladağı district of the southern border province of Hatay.
The General Staff, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Foreign Ministry prepared a scenario amid the start of this refugee flow in 2011, with a plan focusing on a possible migration wave from the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Idlib.
Within this framework, preparations were made depending on three scenarios, which foresaw the number of refugees rising to either 50,000, 100,000, or 200,000. At the time, Turkey had space for only 60,000 people in refugee camps, but preparations were made with regard to the “worst case scenario,” which was foreseen as 200,000 refugees.
In 2012, the number of Syrian migrants in Turkey was 14,237. However, according to data compiled on Aug. 17, 2017, the number of Syrians biometrically registered in Turkey had reached 3.14 million.
Syrians can now be found in all of Turkey’s 81 provinces. While there are just 42 Syrian migrants in the Black Sea province of Bayburt, there are 501,929 Syrian migrants in Turkey’s most populated province Istanbul.
According to the Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management, some 233,146 Syrians are currently living in camps.
Istanbul tops the list of the provinces in Turkey hosting the highest number of refugees, followed by the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa with 439,826.
A majority of the more than three million Syrians in Turkey have been biometrically registered. During that registration process, the authorities take all 10 fingerprints of the migrants and give them a temporary protection identification card. This document also features the name of the province where the migrants are living in order to control migration within Turkey.
Those who have this identification card can also benefit from health and education services.