A study by Hacettepe University and the Swiss Embassy in Turkey showed that Turkish media has not paid much attention to the situation of the more than 3.5 million refugees in the country after the recent influx of Syrians from the country's war-torn neighbor.
Murat Erdoğan, head of the migration studies center at the Ankara-based university, says that lack of a communication strategy was also prevalent, helping to perpetuate fake, negative news about refugees, especially Syrians.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara about the study, Erdoğan said Turkey has seen an unprecedented wave of migration in the past few years, and it was "a sensitive issue."
He said that Turkish media outlets were mostly interested in "symbolic" incidents related to refugees such as dramatic images of Alan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler whose body were washed ashore as he and his family tried to travel to Greece from Turkey.
He said there was a lack of news reports offering a different angle or comment on the state of migrants. He said fake news spread due to the absence of an effective communication strategy and that authorities must clarify the financial status of refugees. He pointed out that issues such as refugees' admission to universities and monthly pay for refugees should be clarified to stop fake news that "affects the public."
Social media has recently been awash with rumors that Syrians are granted admission to universities without exams that are mandatory for Turkish citizens and that they are paid huge sums of money every month.