The population of Syrians living in Turkey may increase to 5 million in 10 years, a recent report by the Ombudsman Institution said, drawing attention to the fact that even though the war may end in Syria, many Syrians in Turkey could decide not to return home.
"The population of Syrian people living in Turkey might reach 5 million in 10 years," the report, titled "Syrians in Turkey," noted and added: "One of the important indicators of Syrians' survival is the babies who have been born in Turkey since 2011. Even this fact can be read as a sign of their inclination to stay permanently. Forty-five percent of Syrians in Turkey, which translates to more than 1.4 million people, are children under the age of 18; therefore, it seems that the Syrian population in Turkey might exceed 4 million or 5 million in 10 years."Stressing that Syrians are living in every province and district across the country, the report clarified that the percentage living in the camps has decreased to 6.69 percent, while some Syrians have become Turkish citizens.
"Some have started to work and invest in Turkey. In light of this situation, it is not realistic to only produce policies as if they were leaving tomorrow. If Syrians feel safe in Turkey, even if their earnings are low but they have jobs, have a decent place to live and have schools where they can send their children, it will be difficult for them to go back to Syria even if the war is over," the report continued.
As some Syrian families have been struggling to survive within the war-torn country's borders, others have been risking both their lives and the lives of their loved ones trying to reach Europe, hoping to find better opportunities and a new home. Turkey now hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees who fled the war and persecution in their country.
Underlining that it is important to develop permanent and enduring policies for Syrian people living in Turkey, the report said that a dynamic process model should be considered, especially for the lost generation, in an effort to ensure their safe return.The report suggested establishing a strong coordinating undersecretary or department that reports directly to the president to avoid future obstacles. It specifically suggested that the new diplomatic agency work in close cooperation with the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent, the Undersecretary of Public Order and Security, and other institutions directly related to its purpose.It is also suggested in order to teach Turkish to Syrians of all ages, especially school-age children, that the Education Ministry, universities, public institutions and organizations cooperate with nongovernmental organizations to ensure that crucial projects are implemented as quickly as possible.Due to the fact that Syrian refugees seem to be a permanent situation in Turkey, the report suggested that Arabic language settings be provided on government websites, further claiming that using their mother tongue could be a great step for monitoring bureaucratic issues and integration.
Taking into consideration the possible reactions of Turkish society and to avoid tension in the near future, the institution also recommended that the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) cooperate with the municipal administration to build new social housing at low-cost for Syrian refugees.