Syrian refugees cause social problems in Turkey
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.17
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Ongoing clashes in Syria have led to the fact that more than 1.6 million Syrian refugees have sought refuge in neighboring Turkey.
Sheltering of Syrian refugees has already cost Ankara $5.5 billion, according to the Office for the Prevention and Elimination of Consequences of Emergency (AFAD) of Turkey.
An amount of $5.5 billion is quite impressive for Ankara, especially given the fact that Turkey has recently taken steps to strengthen its economy.
Over half a million Syrian's have fled the war in their country. Turkey houses the majority in camps that have become home to approximately 300,000 Syrians. Istanbul alone has taken in 40,000 refugees from Syria with the rest scattered among the other Turkish provinces.
Naturaliy, as a result of the existence of such a huge refugee population, Turkey is facing some economic and social problems.
One of the most serious problems in this area is the issue of Syrian refugees who are engaged in begging. Despite the fact that this problem has been partially solved, more than 30,000 people have been detained in nine provinces of Turkey within the framework of the recent operations against beggars.
Another problem in Turkey related to Syrian refugees, is the high divorce rate in the country.
A man can have several wives in Turkey and a marriage with a refugee from Syria costs only 3,000 TRY. Many Turkish women do not want to put up with this and file for divorce. Syrian refugees have caused about 20 percent of divorces in the Kilis province bordering Syria alone.
Another unresolved problem is human trafficking, which is increasing in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and several other Arab countries.
Around 107,000 women are living in the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and over 20 percent of them are widows, according to the official statistics. The suppliers of "live goods" to the Persian Gulf countries take advantage of this.
But there is another problem that greatly impacts the social situation in Turkey, which is the growth of unemployment in the country.
The number of unemployed in Turkey stood at 2.78 million in November 2013, while this figure totaled 3.96 million in November 2014, according to the country's Statistical Institute. Thus, the number of unemployed increased by over a million people in Turkey in just one year, partly as a result of the influx of refugees.
Recently, Turkish government stated that Syrian refugees will be able to work in the country's tourism sector.
Being a cheap labor force, Syrian refugees will get minimum wage in Turkey (949 TRY). But unfortunately, this could also lead to an increase in demand for workers from among Syrian refugees and cause a new wave of unemployment in Turkey.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu