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Amid Afghan influx, Turkey’s refugee policy gets tested with fire

Turkey has done a rather good job meeting the immediate and mid-term needs of Syrian refugees, but it is now at a crossroads on whether to have a long-term integration policy, experts say.
Syrian refugees walk among tents at Karkamis' refugee camp on January 16, 2014, near the town of Gaziantep, south of Turkey.

As the influx of Afghan refugees to Turkey spurs anti-refugee sentiment in the country, Ankara’s policy on the 3.6 million Syrian forced migrants over the past decade is being tested with fire.

Omar Kadkoy, migration policy analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey in Ankara, says that while Turkey has been relatively good at providing health and education to Syrian refugees, it has failed in other areas such as economic and social integration. “What lies at the heart of this problem is Ankara's indecisive vision on whether the Syrians would leave or stay in Turkey for good, which is a difficult point politically,” Kadkoy, who came from Damascus in 2014, told Al-Monitor.

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