Syrians bring TL 1.2 billion to Turkish economy

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 14.06.2016 23:19

Syrians have deposited TL 1,199,632,000 in Turkish banks according to figures from the first quarter of 2016.

In parallel with the increasing number of Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war in their country and coming to Turkey, Syrian investments in Turkey has increased as well. Some of the Syrians who wish to secure their money have preferred Turkish banks during this period.

According to data collected from Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), while the amount of deposits held by Syrians in Turkish banks was TL 311.2 million in 2012, this reached TL 694.3 million in 2013, and TL 733.8 million in 2014, TL 1.2 billion in 2015, marking a 63.8 percent increase.

The former president of the Syrian National Coalition, Khaled Khoja, said that in addition to transferring their deposits to Turkish banks, Syrians had invested in real estate, and some invested on behalf of Turkish citizens. "One Syrian businessperson alone brought $300 million to Turkey because of the fragile environment following the Arab Spring. With this amount of money, he made great consortiums and construction investments with Turkish partners in Turkey. I do not know how many people are out there like him," Khoja said. He stressed that with the amounts of money brought by small and middle scale Syrian businesspeople, indirect investments were made in Turkish economy as well.

Anadolu Agency's (AA) finance analyst İslam Memiş said wealthy Syrians who came to Turkey in the beginning of the Syrian civil war brought a significant amount of cash which they converted from the Syrian pound into the dollar, due to the collapse of the Syrian currency. Stressing that a significant foreign currency trade emerged in Turkey during the first year of the Syrian crisis, Memiş noted that the Syrian pound went on the black market when it lost its value. Syrian refugees who converted their savings in foreign currency and gold made an important contribution to the foreign currency and gold market, and some opened jewelry stores.

Memiş added that the majority of the wealthy Syrians who converted their savings from Syrian pounds to dollars later invested in real estate, adding that they made joint purchase and sale with Turkish real estate agents, and realized profits over the past year. They submitted their dollar savings to real estate agents and share profits with them by buying and selling real properties.

Memiş said some Syrians entered the food sector, and it is possible to see Arab-operated restaurants, grocery stores and food kiosks all over Turkey. Syrians opened these enterprises with their dollar and gold savings, and operate them together with Turks. Memiş said one feature of Syrians is that they are good at trade, and many prefer investments with high profit margins. There has been a significant rise in money transfers by Syrians, sending money to their needy relatives through Western Union.

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