Syrian Refugees in Turkey & Security Implications

Syrian refugees:

Due to the ongoing civil war, approximately 5 million Syrians have fled from Syria. Turkey enacted "Temporary Regulation Law” in 2014 to regulate the rights and responsibilities of Syrians. They have been given “Temporary Protection” status. Overall number of refugees in Turkey is 3.168.757 as of September 2017. Responsible authorities in Turkey are; Ministry of Interior, Governorates, Directorate General of Migration Management




Refugees’ dispersion in Turkey:

Only 7.4% of overall Syrians are living in Temporary Protection Centers. For the rest, most of them are living in İstanbul, Sanliurfa and Hatay. 37.5 % of all Syrians are in 0-14 age range while 60.5 % are in 15-65 and 2 % in 65+.


Criminal cases:

The crime rate among Syrians was 1.32 percent between 2014 and 2017. Despite the rising refugee population, their involvement in crime in Turkey decreased by 5 percent in the first half of 2017.



Since 2015, approximately 260.000 Syrians have returned their home, most of them through Turkey. Due to the significant risks of protection for the returns, Syrians do not seem to be definitely eager to return back to Syria.  

Although the government launches provisions for education and employment, most of the Syrian refugees work in poor conditions with quite poor salaries.

Moreover, there is seemingly a growing discontent between the Turkish population and Syrian refugees in general.

Torbalı, İzmir – 08.04.2017 – Fight between Syrian Refugees and city-dwellers


Possible Security Repercussions:

Lack of long-term effective integration policy seems as an obstacle for long-term stability and security.  This might increase the tension between refugees and host communities especially in the cities like Istanbul, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, Hatay, Adana, Mersin and Izmir. Additionally, it may also be envisaged to witness the formations of “Syrian Gangs” in such cities which may further impair security and the social peace.