The Syrian civil war that started five years ago caused millions of Syrian citizens to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Turkey has welcomed approximately 2 million refugees, providing settlement and aid to many. Research conducted by Çukurova University gives insight into the living conditions of refugees in Adana, which is located on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey. The research was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 450 Syrian refugees – 313 males and 137 females – all of whom were selected via random sampling.
Professor Adnan Gümüş, who is the chief researcher, said that the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey passed 1,652,000 by the beginning of the year and over 80,000 of them are currently living in Adana. He added that the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has provided shelter to 235,000 refugees while the rest are living by their own means. The aim of the research was to compare living conditions in Syria and Adana while also addressing the impact of the refugees on the city.
The research provides important statistics regarding a spectrum of subjects varying from language to income. On the subject of language, 18 percent of the interviewees said that they know Turkish and another 17 percent said that they are able to understand it partially. Thirteen percent of the male and 23 percent of the female interviewees said that they have never received formal education and 70 percent of the previously employed interviewees said that they were directly affected by the civil war in Syria. Regarding their entrance into Turkey, 41 percent of the interviewees entered with passports, 32 percent through border checkpoints and 23 percent overland.
Concerning the issue of settlement, 81.2 percent of the refugees are tenants who live in two to four room houses and generally with two or three families. Of the refugees, 82.4 percent live by their own means and do not receive aid, 42 percent of refugee families have at least one child who works and 60 percent of the children are not able to attend school. Upon the question of whether they have returned to Syria since their arrival, 71.6 percent of the refugees said that they have not. While 65 percent of the refugees hope to return to Syria, 20 percent are uncertain about returning even if the crisis is resolved, 13 percent said that they want to stay in Turkey and 2 percent said they want to travel to another country.