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Businesses boom as Syrians put down roots in Turkey

Ankara has acknowledged the prospect of at least 1 million Syrian refugees never leaving, as many set up companies, buy property and open schools.
A money changer calculates the exchange rate of Turkish lira to Syrian pound at his office in the southern Turkish town of Reyhanli November 29,2012.  REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh (TURKEY - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3B0WS

MERSIN, Turkey — In a bustling office on a palm-lined street along the Mediterranean shore, Ahmet Ammar Restom is busy answering phones, rifling through papers and greeting clients. He looks like any another businessman, but in the eyes of the Turkish authorities he is a refugee — and he doesn’t like it.

“When I go to government offices to sort out problems, I’m treated as a refugee. But I’m a businessman,” the Aleppan merchant told Al-Monitor, proudly sharing the documentation for his latest shipment of cooking oil exports. “I don’t take any aid [from the Turkish state]. On the contrary, I am aiding the state — I pay taxes.”

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