A wave of Syrian refugees is taking advantage of the opportunities and relative ease of doing business in Turkey — to the benefit of the country’s economy. Since 2011, 4,000 new businesses have been set up by Syrians or Syrians with Turkish partners — and the number is accelerating.
According to the Economic Policy Research Foundation, an Ankara-based think-tank, 1,600 were set up in 2015, with 590 more established in the first three months of this year alone.
“There is now enough evidence that they are now doing something positive and contributing to the Turkish economy,” Guven Sak, the think-tank’s head, said. “It’s not just people on the street; there are many people who came with some kind of funding, and have figured out ways to invest it.”
A report this week by Standard & Poor’s also concluded that the new arrivals, who now account for almost 4 per cent of the population, have boosted Turkey’s growth. Frank Gill, the report’s author, depicts the migration as a “positive shock” increasing Turkey’s attractiveness to investors as a country with a young, economically active population.
Most of the Syrian migrants live outside refugee camps, some in abject poverty, with beggars on the streets of almost every Turkish town. But many are middle-class, with savings of their own or the ability to borrow.