As the devastating civil war in Syria has been raging for almost six years now, a recent report published by the Police Academy Immigration and Border Research Center (GÖÇMER) has revealed that the nearly three million refugees hosted by Turkey are now an indispensable part of the country's society.
While touching upon the needs required by the Syrian refugees to continue their lives in Turkey, the report titled "International Mass Migrations and Syrians in Turkey" suggests thinking of the Syrian refugee issue within the economy, education, sheltering and security framework.
The GÖÇMER report, which was prepared following the international conference titled as "Mass Migration and Cities" in Antalya last year, states the refugees have had some negative influences on the economy, such as increasing inflation in border cities, including Kilis, Gaziantep, and Hatay as well as a positive impact on Turkey.
Accordingly, Syrian refugees have significantly met the manpower deficit by working in job positions that local people are not willing occupy. In addition, an economic boom for local firms has taken place thanks to aids in border towns granted to meet the needs of Syrian refugees.
The report further emphasizes the crucial investments made for more than one million Syrian school-age children and underlined that Turkey has spent $3 billion in the period up to 2016.
Furthermore, the educational needs of Syrian children have been met in four different ways, namely, temporary education centers, Turkish schools following a Syrian curriculum, the Turkish Ministry of Education and education provided by NGOs, the report indicated.
Drawing attention to the camps provided by the Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the report indicated that Turkey has taken huge responsibility to ensure shelter for Syrian refugees hosted in Turkish territory, despite its high cost.
Syrian refugees who chose to live outside of the camps at their own costs often reside in buildings in poor physical condition, which has caused social and health problems, the report revealed.
Furthermore, the report pointed to xenophobia as a security concern that will likely be a problem where two different cultures clash, resulting in hate crimes. It also noted that Turkey should continuously monitor the social-psychological tensions between the local community and immigrants and to take continuous measures to prevent problems.
The integration process is also mentioned in the report, which is a vital point for homeland security, because crimes such as smuggling and drug trafficking are common among immigrants who are not integrated into Turkish society.
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