“Syrian refugees should be given status before citizenship”

The report titled “Challenges and Opportunities of Refugee Integration in Turkey” is issued.

A report on the problems of Syrian refugees in Turkey and integration policies is issued by Dr. Doğuş Şimşek (Koç University) and İGAM (Center for Refuge and Migration Studies) Chair Metin Çorabatır. Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation funded the report and Turkey Representative of the foundation Kristian Brakel attended the meeting in which the report was presented. 

Metin Çorabatır stated that the report “aims to show that integrating 3 million refugees living in Turkey is impossible without discussing refugee rights.”

Integration doesn't mean social adaptation”

As a result of the civil war that erupted in Syria on April 2011, Syrians started to migrate to neighboring countries including Turkey. Çorabatır said that issue of refugees hadn't been discussed in Turkey before the refugees came and this is a fundamental problem of Turkey. 

Turkey implements international conventions on refugees with “geographical restriction” condition, which means that only people coming from Europe can have refugee status. Other people can only have “temporary protection”. The report recommends Turkey to abolish “geographical restriction” condition. It also argues that asylum requests shouldn't be assessed one by one, but rather all people under temporary protection should be given refugee status altogether for once only, just like Europe did.

Doğuş Şimşek stated that Turkish authorities mistake integration for “social adaptation”, which means nothing in terms of refugee rights. 

Stating that “People cannot stay as refugees forever even if they are granted all kinds of rights”, Çorabatır said that granting citizenship is a favorable development, but it is wrong to grant citizenship without giving status to refugees first. 

What does the report cover?

The state of the refugees in Turkey under temporary protection are assessed under the titles such as accommodation, education, healthcare, social security, employment and several recommendations are offered concerning these issues. Furthermore, integration works in Europe, the US and Canada are featured as example cases. According to the report, Turkey failed in issues like accommodation, employment and protecting the unity of the refugee families. 

For reading the full report, click here.  


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