Syrian entrepreneurs want to stay in Turkey even after the war is over

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A Syrian man sit in front of a syrian shop, on May 1, 2018 in Gaziantep, southwestern Turkey. In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, home to around half a million Syrians who fled the civil war south of the border, hundreds of Syrian businesses are thriving in a boost both for the displaced community and their host country. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

A recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) shows that Syrian entrepreneurs operating businesses in Turkey want to stay put even after the war in their homeland ends.

The study says 72 percent of the Syrian entrepreneurs surveyed indicated that they do not want to return to Syria after the war is over.

“One apparent reason behind this decision has been the success of their businesses in Turkey,” TEPAV said.

Over the course of eight years since the beginning of the conflict, Syrians in Turkey have established more than 10,000 companies where an average of seven people are employed and of whom 60 percent are Syrians.

The average Syrian household comprises six people; hence, the findings of the study, although not with certainty, indicate that approximately 250,000 Syrians are benefiting from the advantages of employment by refugee-driven companies, some 7 percent of the 3.5 million hosted in Turkey.

Aimed at providing a comparative analysis of the performance of refugee businesses, the study was conducted in eight provinces where the refugee population is most dense, namely Gaziantep, Mersin, Hatay, Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Adana, Kahramanmaraş and Mardin, based on a sample of 416 companies — 207 Turkish and 209 refugee-driven.

The topics covered in the survey ranged from infrastructure, trade, finance, regulations, taxes and business licensing to corruption, crime and informality, labor market integration and perceptions of the obstacles in doing business.

The results showed that refugee-driven companies in Turkey are more export-oriented than their Turkish counterparts, while more than half of the Turkish companies stated that they do not think an increase in the number of Syrian asylum seekers helped increase Turkey’s foreign trade.

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