66 percent of Turks want Syrian migrants to return home, says recent report

A recent report by the Istanbul-based Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) has revealed that 66 percent of Turkish citizens want Syrian migrants to be sent back to their country.

The report was based on a telephone survey conducted on more than a thousand people and was presented to the media at a press conference on Saturday. Nearly half the respondents said they saw Syrians as a burden to the country and potentially dangerous to society.

Moreover, 70 percent said they believed Syrians were “not clean, untrustworthy and rude,” and many said they believed Syrians were lazy.

More than half the respondents said they would not want to live near Syrians and that they only interacted with them when it was absolutely necessary. The respondents said they felt this way despite the fact that they had never encountered a problem with a Syrian migrant in daily life.

According to the report, many respondents do not want Syrians to work in Turkey or have their own workplaces because it would mean they had settled there and would not return home.

Nearly all the respondents who voted for opposition parties said the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) immigration policies were unsatisfactory and ineffective.

Hate crimes against refugees and migrants, who are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles, have been escalating in the country in recent years.

Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.

Anti-migrant sentiment has also been expressed by opposition politicians. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has promised to send Syrians back home if his party comes to power.

Tanju Özcan, the mayor of Bolu province from the CHP, earlier said an additional water and solid waste tax 10 times the normal tax would be imposed on refugees living in Bolu.

Many refugees have reported difficulties in finding a home since nobody wants to rent to “Arabs.”

In August 2021 a group of locals attacked Syrian refugees, their houses, workplaces and cars in Ankara’s Altındağ district, chanting anti-Syrian and fascist slogans. Images on social media showed dozens of angry people throwing rocks at homes, smashing shops and cars and burning merchandise looted from shops believed to belong to Syrian refugees.

According to UNHCR Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide. The country is currently home to around 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees along with close to 320,000 persons of concern of other nationalities.

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