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Syrians adapt to tumultuous Turkish environment

In the decade-old Turkish diaspora, thousands of Syrians have started businesses that fill niches in Turkey and open up new export markets — but economic and political challenges are rising.
Syria Turkey

When Saad Al-Nassife came to southern Turkey from Syria in 2012, he was barely getting by in construction. Facing Turkish competition, he found a niche through some other laborers' connection to Aleppo’s long tradition of Syrian stonemasonry. They founded SMM Stoneworks to fill a gap in Turkey. Knowledge in this traditional sector enabled SMM to weather the current socioeconomic storm other Syrian companies now face in Turkey.

Syrians have established between 11,000 and 14,000 businesses in Turkey since the Syrian uprising. Factoring in the black market, the number could be easily double or triple that. They have succeeded in exports, connecting their clients and social capital to Turkey and helping expand the domestic supply chain. Syrian-owned companies also cater locally to the Syrian diaspora and sectors that require specific expertise or that are labor-intensive, including stonemasonry, shoe manufacturing, textiles, carpentry and more.

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