Ankara, Nov 10 () - Syrian migrants are becoming an economic actor in Turkey not only in terms of their labor power but also their entrepreneurial skills, with the number of companies opened by Syrians increasing 40-fold between 2010 and 2014, according to new data.
Other data suggests the trend is even accelerating more quickly this year.
A total of 1,257 new companies were opened in partnership with Syrians in 2014, up from a mere 30 in 2010, according to an Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) study conducted by Esra Özpınar, Seda Başıhoş and Aycan Kulaksız.
The share of Syrians in foreign partnerships in Turkish business has continued rising in 2015, data from the Union of Chambers of Stock Exchanges (TOBB) has also shown.
The companies in question have largely congregated in regions close to Turkey’s border with Syria and big cities where the trade volume is higher.
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, was housing 559 firms formed in partnership by Syrians as of 2014, while Gaziantep, the leading business city in Turkey’s southeast, had 222 businesses.
There are 203 such companies in the southern province of Mersin.
In Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana and Mersin, all in the south or southeast, there were only 12 Syrian partnerships in 2010. By the end of 2014, however, this number had reached 537.
Some 10.5 percent of all new businesses founded in 2014 in Hatay were Syrian partnerships, up from 0.68 percent in 2010. In Kilis, where the Syrian population rivals the Turkish residents in number, there were no Syrian businesses five years ago. But as of 2014, the Syrian partnerships constitute nearly 34 percent of the newly founded companies.
Despite political problems between Turkey and Syria, Turkish exports from Mersin, Gaziantep, Hatay, Mardin, Kilis, Malatya, Sivas and Diyarbakır increased in 2014 to a level before the war started in the neighboring country in 2010.
TOBB data revealed that 144 Syrian-capital companies, one of them a limited company, were founded in September, topping all other new foreign firms.
Between January and September this year, 1,148 Syrian-capital companies were founded across the country, boasting $161 million in capital.
The economic effects of the migration wave have been spread across Turkey, the TEPAV report said.
Migrants have economically enlivened regions close to the border, it said.
“People who migrated to the border regions in the first step due to the war brought with them their authentic production and consumption habits,” it said.