Research Reports

How the EU and Turkey can promote self-reliance for Syrian refugees through agricultural trade

By Kemal Kirişci, TÜSİAD senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe's Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution

By Kemal Kirişci, TÜSİAD senior fellow and director of the Center on the United States and Europe's Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution

The Syrian crisis is approaching its ninth year, forcing over 7 million people to flee the country. Of those displaced, more than 3.6 million have sought refuge in Turkey, which now hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. As leaders at all levels of government, civil society, and international agencies are grappling with how to integrate these newcomers into society and the labor market, this report discusses innovative ways refugees in Turkey can become self-reliant.

At a time when the Turkish economy is not performing strongly and the European Union is trying to find ways to tackle its own migration crisis, policies aimed at spurring economic growth and formalizing the employment of Syrian refugees in Turkey could provide a win-win-win solution – for Turkey, for the EU, and for refugees. This report proposes a trade concessions compact between the EU and Turkey conditional to the formal employment of Syrians, and presents a set of political and regulatory reforms with a focus on the agricultural sector.

The report is divided into three sections: an overview of the current situation facing Syrian refugees in Turkey; an assessment of the challenges and opportunities relating to their access to employment in the agricultural sector; and a set of policy recommendations.