Syrian Refugee Integration & Harmonization Process in Turkey Nurefsan Arslan


Migration in any form is associated with manydifficulties, including exposure to a foreign lifestyle and cultural shock. Moreover, simultaneous exposure to a couple of cultures at once has the potential to result in distorted cultural identity, cultural adjustment difficulties. Being not prepared mentally to a new culture before hand can result in difficult consequences.
In the beginning of Syrian war asylum seekers were regarded as temporary hosts but as the time passed the issue become a permanent settlement. Out of aproximately 3 million refugees, the syrians living outside of the camps face different problems.

A refugee is described as a person who ‘owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country as mentioned in international law’ This definition implies that several qualifying conditions apply to be considered a refugee: presence outside home country, well-founded fear of persecution; incapacity to enjoy the protection of one’s own state from the persecution feared. The definition of refugees was actually intended to exclude internally displaced persons, economic migrants, victims of natural disasters, and persons fleeing violent conflict.
The 1951 Refugee Convention is the legal document of the process that forms the basis. Ratified? by 145 State parties, it defines the term ‘refugee’ and outlines the rights of the displaced, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them. The core principle is non-refoulement, which says that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. This is now considered a rule of common international law. More over it includes considerable emphasis on the integration of the refugees.

In recent years there is an influx of refugees fleeing from conflict affected regions to escape deadly violance. In the duration of dangerous journeys asylum seekers face many problems such as social, economical obstacles.In terms of immigration flows to western countries the phenomenon of the immigration is in fact anything but new. There is a two-way process between migrants and the receiving society to acknowledge the potential role that countries of origin may play a vital role in support of the integration process.
When we look at the recent analyzes on integration; it takes a step back to consider three broad and interconnected issues: (i) the way integration is conceptualized and studied; (ii) the way integration policies are studied and how the concept of integration is used in policy formulation and practice; and (iii) the way new perspectives and actors(those in countries of origin) are incorporated in analyses of integration processes and policies.
The term harmonization is a complex and gradual process in which the outcome of the actions taken by the states or the legal rules put into force are not abling to be expected at once. The authorities are applyingand viewing various aspects to minimalize the challenges that both immigrants and host communities face. There has been taken serious steps on the regulations which aim to create a cohesive society. Furthermore, social integration policies are being implemented of more stable and long term policies and practices.

Several questions are raised for a relevant solution to respond such problems.Concerning the receiving societiesincluding the civil society organizations and the state does matter in immigrants’ integration. The local community and the immigrants work together to build a well society. In the current research of integration there are 9 gaps in which the refegee needs help for interaction. According to the Interact Research Report (2014), in various types of engagement the dimensions are mentioned as education, labour market outcomes, language, social interaction, civic participation, religion, political participation and access to nationality. Interaction of relief, rehabilitation and development requires an analysis of the broader political, social and economic context. Beyond these it takes a step back to consider the legal process.

Until recently Turkey used to be known as a transit country but today it has become a target country. There are different mechanisms which faciliate the cohesion of syrians. Regarding this the war has had an impact on both sides of the borders. Being aware of this fact the government has been assigned with the duty of Harmonization as required by article 96 of law on foreigners and International Protection. Relying upon the legal situation foreigner applicant or beneficiary can take advantage of the contributions of public institutions, organizations, local administrations, non-governmental organizations, universities and international organizations. Hemight attend introductory courses in which the political structure, language, legal system, culture and history of the country as well as their rights and obligations are mentioned. The government may conduct information courses such as benefiting from public and private services, access to education and economic activities, social and cultural interaction and receiving primary healthcare services.
Harmonization stipulated by law and in the duties of our Directorate General is neither an assimilation nor an integration. It is rather a voluntary harmonization resulting from mutual understanding of each other between the migrants and the society.

Two-way active interaction and voluntary actions are aimed within the scope of harmonization arrangements and efforts, and a migrant-oriented approach will be embraced. Harmonization and Communication Department under the organisation of our Directorate General is charged with executing the duties and procedures regarding mutual harmonization of the foreigners with the society.
Especially, Turkey has confronted a huge wave of migration. It has experienced various migrations and has tried to meet the needs of refugees in corporation with the NGO’s in different fields such as education, labour market, language and ext.

3.587.930 of refugees are under the temporary protection served by Turkish Inter?or Ministryas of 18.10.2018. A total of 4.3 million people immigrated to one of the EU-28 Member States during 2016, while at least 3.0 million emigrants were reported to have left an EU Member State. These total figures do not however represent the migration flows to/from the EU as a whole, since they also include flows between different EU Member States. Among these 4.3 million immigrants during 2016, there were an estimated 2.0 million citizens of non-EU countries, 1.3 million people with citizenship of a different EU Member State from the one to which they immigrated, around 929 thousand people who migrated to an EU Member State of which they had the citizenship (for example, returning nationals or nationals born abroad), and some 16 thousand stateless people.

On settling down in a new culture refugees may feel more alienated if not accessed to social support. Education plays a vital role in integration process. An individual can more likely to adopt through participation in is of great importance for the development of the character of person. Taken together, lack of cultural and linguistic knowledge causes disengagement and adaptation problems into the community.. According to the statements of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management the number of people of young age between 19-24 is 450.378 as of the year 2017.
In this context, Ministry of Education took steps for the action plans in 2013. Government focused on implementing the legal regulations and the article 6458 foreigners and international protection law is put into force in april 2014. By the help of the temporary protection Surian refugees had a chance to achieve the rights to health, education and public assistance. Additionally, Turkish Ministry of Education signed an agreement which was the financial source for 300 million Euro to faciliate the integration to the turkish education system for Syrian refugees in cooperation with the European Union Delegee of Turkey. As Betts mentions that it is inevitable that refugees cost financially but they are the people to whom we can trust on their abilities if let them use their own capacity on their abilities.Beyond this the term ‘integration’ is a complex and gradual process. We can not expect a sudden outcome of the action we make or the legal rules put into force.

As for the syrian refugees Turkey spent approximately 8 billion dollars as of the year 2015 besides the sum of the support money by the international NGO’s is 300 million dollars. These numbers show that the action madefor the step for the integration of syrians is not less.(Theirworld ve a World at school,2015)
The government bodies represent the displaced individuals possible choice for the residence. There is a system in which the refugees get chance to apply for residence. For instance 3.587,930 of refugees got a chance to have the temporary protection from the ministry of interior in Turkey. Abling environments for development of economical, social circumtances keep the refugees from being stuck in obscure situation.
In order to faciliate the mutual harmonization between the local society and the refugees Government seek suggestions and contributions of public institutions and agencies, non-govenrmental organizations, universities and international organizations.

Besides the Government’s assistance NGO’s are also conducting operations and projects in the field. Taking care of the safety of vulnerable persons has been a principle core for Red Crescent family since 1868. As Syrian Arab Republic has been experiencing the internal disturbance since 15 march 2011 on these events Turkish Red Crescent has been providing facilition for the logistics, public demand and social needs for the vulnerable people fleeing from Syria. There are going to be held assistance projects and implementations from different paths of NGO’s. As an example K?z?laykart is a cash based assistance tool provided to foreigners in Turkey International or Temporary Protection and Humanitarian Residence. The number of beneficiaries of emergency social safety net programme has reached to 1.387.214 tall of people. The total number of beneficiaries of Extension of conditional cash transfer for education is 368.090 persons.

Today, what we need for unity and social cohesion is as urgent as ever. Families struggling to get used to a new society and environment in a foreign culture still have feelings between hope and desperation. They are trying to cope with the environment in which they are assumed as strangers. Besides Government’s responses NGO’s are shared this duty on global response, too. To gain more complete picture we need time, strategy planning and development of economical and social circumtances. Finally, we are sure that Turkey won’t let the case of syrians to be lost in the shuffle somewhere in a corridor.

The Author is a Migration Expert, working for Refugees in Turkey