Guests-Hosts Relations in the Context of the Syrian Exodus: A Study of Turkish and Syrian Populations in Two Turkish Cities
Author/s: J. Eduardo Chemin
Year: 2016 Vol: 1 Number: 2
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, millions of Syrians have been forced to migrate to neighboring countries. The majority of them have settled in Turkey. Despite this, few studies have focused on the bilateral relations between the Syrian guests and Turkish hosts in the land. This quantitative study, conducted in two cities in the eastern Mediterranean (Mersin and Adana), adds to the literature of an emerging and dynamic field of migration and refugee studies in Turkey and is our attempt to help close gaps in research. Although no direct discrimination or harsh hostilities between the two groups have been identified, Syrians seem to feel culturally close to their hosts. Turks, on the other hand, lack trust in Syrians and display views about them that are at times based on some negative stereotypes. We also found that for Turks, the Syrian problem is considered to be a temporary issue. While the temporal quality of discussions about the classic anthropological other often permeates academic discussions about immigrants and refugees, the lack of structured policies in Turkey, as well as the use of narratives and discourses to influence public opinion in its stead, has fed popular narratives about Syrians as passive recipients of charity and a transitory population. This occurs despite the probability that Syrians may in fact soon become a recognized and sizeable Arab-speaking minority in Turkey.