Survey: 14 percent in İstanbul ‘disgusted’ by Syrian refugees

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A Syrian refugee boy sits on the ground begging at Eminonu in Istanbul on April 14, 2015. The number of asylum-seekers in industrialised countries rose by nearly half last year, driven by the devastating conflicts in Syria and Iraq, with Germany the top destination, the UN refugee agency said on March 26. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

A survey conducted on the perceptions of refugees in İstanbul has found that 14 percent of respondents are disgusted by Syrian refugees, while 12 percent hate them.

The Evrensel daily on Saturday reported the findings of a survey conducted jointly by İstanbul Kemerburgaz University and Kent University in the UK. According to questions asked to 1,224 people, 91 percent of respondents believe they have difficulty finding jobs because of refugees, while 94 percent believe rents are on the rise because of Syrians in Turkey.

Other findings are also alarming according to the researchers since 72 percent of respondents say they are uncomfortable encountering refugees. Eighty-three percent of Istanbulites even believe that epidemics are on rise because of Syrians. Similarly, 86 percent of respondents claim that crime rates have increased due to the Syrians’ presence in Turkey as well as a rise in begging on the streets of İstanbul.

Seventy-six percent of Turks in İstanbul do not feel any sympathy towards the Syrians, while 49 percent say they pity the refugees. Over half of respondents, 55 percent, want the Syrians to go back home before the Syrian civil war is over.

Although the exact number is unknown, some 3 million Syrians have taken refuge in Turkey  since a civil war broke out in 2011. Syrians are often exploited by employees as cheap labor, and Syrian children have been documented as working in textile plants in several places across Turkey.

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