Sıla Senem Kurt

Faculty of Law, University of Yeditepe, Turkey

Erasmus student at Faculty of Law in Maribor


Refugees of the Syrian Civil War are citizens of Syrian Arab Republic, who have escaped from their country since the inception of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Up to half a million people died in the civil war, including around a hundred thousand civilians.

Turkey is the country where the greatest number of Syrian refugees live. Turkey has followed an open door policy attended by a national temporary protection regime to protect more than three million Syrians escaping civil war since 2011. Turkey is a party to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, but maintains a geographical limitation to the Convention. Turkey is also a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Convention against Torture.

According to the Foreigners and International Protection Law Article 91, “temporary protection may be provided for foreigners who have been forced to leave their country, cannot return to the country that they have left, and have arrived at or crossed the borders of Turkey in a mass influx situation seeking immediate and temporary protection.” Therefore, Syrian refugees cannot apply for resettlement because they are only in the status of temporary protection. Temporary Protection Regulation( no. 2014/6883) entitles the Syrian refugees to apply for work permit in specific geographical areas and professions, as well as access to public services such as health and education.  Up to 300,000 Syrian refugees living in Turkey could be given citizenship under a plan to keep wealthy and educated Syrians in the country. As of March, 2018, the number of Syrian citizens who acquire Turkish citizenship was 55,583. About 30% refugees are being settled in 22 government-run camps set up by the Red Crescent in Turkey. According to authorities, the refugees receive three meals a day, hot water, and access to household equipment like washing machines and televisions.

With the high rate of illicit work in the border provinces, the rate of illicit work in other provinces is also high. Syrian refugees work at low wages without legal work permits until January 2016. The Regulation on Work Permits was formed on January 15, 2016, as this situation disturbed the community and the government.

One of the more dangerous conditions that Syrian refugees face is the threat of disease. The disease is always a source of concern during conflict, and in refugee camps, and elsewhere. As for health service, In Turkey, a significant majority of registered Syrian refugees have the right to have individual health insurance. Refugees have access to free basic health care services through family health centers, counseling centers, tuberculosis dispensaries and migrant outpatient clinics. Secondary and tertiary health services are provided free of charge, but some medicines and outpatient services require a common payment.

On the hand, the other problem is cultural differences. Eighty percent of the Syrian refugees are women and children. Some of the women’s husband have died at a young age. They want to marry  with someone from Turkey because of social problems. The Syrian legal system is different from Turkish law. Multiple marriages in Syria is not prohibited in terms of social and legal aspects as well as they slant it. But both Turkish law and culture are against polygamy.

As for education, the Ministry of National Education has approved the establishment of Temporary Education Centers for Syrian refugee children to continue their education. Temporary Education Centers present Arabic education and lessons are given by Syrian volunteer teachers. The Council of Ministers privilege to the Syrian students enrolled in the state universities from tuition for the fourth time in a row.