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Jobs for both the Syrians and Turks

TOBB as well as the Foundation for Research on Turkey’s Economic Policies (TEPAV) aim at reaching thirty thousand people with the Project, “Living and Working Together: Integration of Syrians under temporary protection to the Turkish Economy – Abled Hands Project.” The EU is financing the project, that covers 12 provinces for integrating both the refugees and the Turkish citizens for participating in the economic life.

Altan Burgucu

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) has initiated a Project aiming at enhancing the participation of the Syrian refugees and the Turkish citizens in economic activities. The Project will be covering 12 provinces and will be financed by the EU. The Project conducted jointly by the TOBBB and the Foundation for Research on Turkey’s Economic Policies (TEPAV), “Living and Working Together: Integration of Syrians under temporary protection to the Turkish Economy – Abled Hands” targets at thirty thousand people.

The project has been initiated by the motto, “Document your occupation, set your distinction,” and the aim is set to enhance the capacities of the Syrian refugees as well as Turkish residents for possible employments.


The project has a two year span and will be conducted in provinces where the Syrian population is concentrated such as Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kilis, Konya, Mardin, Mersin and Urfa. With joint attempt with the chambers of commerce and industry in those provinces, thirty thousand people will be classified accordingly with their occupational capacities and work experiences. Among those, a twenty thousand will be subject to qualification tests and fifteen hundred will be granted certification. Three thousand among those who have been certified will be publicly employed. Besides, a two thousand will receive training in Turkish.

The target is nearly a thousand firms acting as ‘voluntary employee’ in 12 provinces. Those firms will find the opportunity to hire people with the certified capabilities. Those who have already been employed will be able to certify their occupational capacities without any additional fees. In addition, new employment will be promoted in various regulations. Such subsidies will take the form of ten per cent of work permit fees and total cost of newly employed. The employers will be eligible for these subsidies for all employed in accordance with the project. Furthermore, the employers will receive legal consultation regarding Syrian employment.


The Project poses as a first in Turkey for many reasons. People, who already have certain occupational quality will find opportunity to obtain a certificate proving their proficiency. The authority of certification lies with the authorized institutions. These institutions will be conducting tests in accordance with the criteria set by the Bureau of Occupational Qualifications.

The project will also be providing an demand analysis in means of the labor market for the concerned provinces. The occupational experiences and skills will be recorded as for each region. One of the major contributions of the project will be the opportunity provided for those who were not able to produce a diploma or a certificate due to the circumstances of war and turmoil. On the other hand, the employment requirements of a thousand firms operating in the concerned industries will also be documented.

At the moment there isn’t any other attempt in Turkey at facilitating, say, twenty thousand to formally establish their occupational capacity and then, introduce the three thousand qualified for certification to potential employers. The project, “Abled Hands” comes to the front through its distinctive case involving the leadership of TOBB, the umbrella organization of free enterprise in Turkey.


The word ‘Mahir,’ (Abled) in Arabic means skillful, talented, expert, the hand and master. “Mahir Eller” (Abled Hands), on the other hand would refer to the people who are competent at their professions and holding high occupational acceptance. Hence, with the Project, it is expected to reach to such people with better working conditions. For those the motto is, “For a good life, a good job, certify your occupation, set your difference.”


Translation: Benan Eres

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