Turkey needs projects to retain skilled Syrians


Turkey can benefit from highly-skilled Syrians such as academics and doctors if projects are provided to them, a member of a Turkish nongovernmental organization said on Wednesday.

Osman Atalay, board member of Turkey-based IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, warned that there would be a brain drain of such "intellectual" Syrians in Turkey if no projects were created for them.

The Turkish state and nongovernmental organizations both have to produce such projects.

"There are teachers, academics, artists and doctors who have been here for six to seven years. We should benefit from their potential. We should ensure that they are able to carry out their professions; otherwise these qualified people will seek ways to go to Europe," Atalay said.

He called on municipalities and NGOs to be more sensitive towards refugees in order to prevent Syrian children in Turkey from becoming a "lost generation".

Atalay said many Syrian children in Turkey were not going to school.

"50 percent children of primary school age, 70 percent children of secondary school age and 90 percent children of high school age do not go to school," he said.

One of the reasons why these children were neglecting school was because they have to work in order to provide an income for their families.

According to Turkish Interior Ministry statistics, there are approximately 2,969,000 documented Syrians in Turkey, of which 1,376,000 are women and 1,351,000 are children. When the undocumented migrants add to this number, it is estimated that the number exceeds 3 million.

More than 451,000 Syrian children in Turkey cannot go to school, and 40,000 new teachers and 30,000 classrooms are needed to provide education to 80 percent of these children, according to Marmara Municipalities Union Migration Policies Workshop report.

According to the report, Syrian babies born in Turkey exceed 230,000.

Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. It has spent $25 billion to help and shelter refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

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