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50 Percent of Syrians in Turkey Never Enrolled in a School

According to the director of the Center for Refuge and Migration Researches (CRMR), Metin Çorabatır, it is impossible for 3.5 millions of Syrians, who are living in Turkey for the moment, to return Syria or go to any other country. Çorabatır says that “we have to learn integration together”. According to Professor Murat Erdoğan, on the other hand, the number school-age children in Turkey are 1 million and 70 thousands. Asserting the number of school-age children in Finland as 500 thousands, Erdoğan said that “There are two times more Syrian children in Turkey and 50 percent of them are never enrolled in a school.”

Altan Bungucu

In the speeches at the meeting “Media and Civil Society Cooperation for the Rights of Refugees” that has been carried out with the CRMR and the Association of Journalists cooperation in Bolu for three days and supported by the Delegation of European Union to Turkey, the Syrian refugee truth in Turkey has been once again brought to light. On the one hand the “integration” with Syrians, whose return to their homeland and pass to a third country is impossible, was suggested; on the other hand it was told that half of the 1 million 70 thousands school-age Syrian children was never enrolled in a school. At the meeting, where the expectation for 140 thousands newborn Syrians in 2018 was uttered, the Syrian truth in Turkey was discussed in detail.


Metin Çorabatır

The CRMR director Metin Çorabatır suggested that “Being refugee is a temporary statute. These people first of all have to be given the right of asylum. They should not to be obliged to a lifelong refugee statute” and added that the number of Syrians in Turkey were at least 3.5 millions. Saying that “Their return is impossible and it is very hard to settle them in third country”, Çorabatır proposed that “we have to learn the meaning of joint integration”.


Prof. Dr. Murat Erdoğan

Professor Murat Erdoğan specified that the refugee population in the camps decreased to 150 thousands. Noting down the fact that the Syrian population in Turkey exceeded 4 millions, Erdoğan looked for the answer to the question that “We are going to live together with the Syrians in Turkey, but how are we going to live in peace?”. Arguing that the Syrian problem will be in agenda of Turkey for 50-100 years, Erdoğan imparted that “6 million people fled away from Syria. While 15 percent of them went to Europe and the USA, the rest went to the neighbor countries. As the number of Syrian babies that were born in Turkey in the year 2017 is 110 thousands, the number of Syrian babies expected to be born in 2018 is 140 thousands.”


Expressing the fact that the first-comer Syrians were settled to the camps but later they spread out to almost all provinces of Turkey, Erdoğan stated that “At the moment, 10 thousands TL are offered per family and they are asked to go to places except for some provinces. Most of them do not want to exit the camps. The close of the camps issue has been talked about for two years. 3 and a half millions of Syrians in Turkey voluntarily moved to various provinces. European Union is giving 375 euro per refugee for a year.” Self-criticizing himself because of always looking at towards Damascus but not refugees, Erdoğan proposed the suggestions that “The state has to take some decisions for adaptation. An approached based on the rights and individual should be enforced. The refugees should be incorporated into the process.”


According to Professor Murat Erdoğan, the demographic distribution for the age strata 20-24 is “100 Syrian women for 134 Syrian men. It is an unbalanced situation. The number of school-age children is 1 million and 70 thousands. The number of school-age children in Finland is 500 thousands. The Syrian children population in our country is as twice as Finland’s school-age children population. The number children in 0-4 age strata are 552 thousands.” Drawing attention to the severity of the situation about the Syrians’ education, Erdoğan says that “All the Syrian immigrants were asked about their educational status, their answers were used to prepare a table. According to this table, 33 percent of them stated that ‘I am illiterate’, 13 percent of them stated that ‘I am literate, but I did not go to school’; 50 percent of Syrians in Turkey were never enrolled in a school. Why is this so? It is a bit Turkey’s unfortunateness. Because of the reasons such as the traditional and conservative social structure of North Syria and its poverty, the education level of the region is low. This population mostly came to our country.”

Noting that while the ratio of illiterate Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan is about 10 percent, it is 33 percent in Turkey, Erdoğan gave the information that “We will live together with this population in future and this fact will always come back to haunt us. The last data about education level was gathered in 2015. It seems that the update of data about Syrians will go on for a while.”

Translation: Aydın Ördek

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