Common Misconceptions about Syrians

-CLAIM #1-

Syrians Receive Salary from the Government


The allegation that Syrians receive salaries from the state was put forward by a columnist for a national newspaper and an independent parliamentarian, citing a thesis of a university that does not exist in Turkey, as a source. Allegedly, in a thesis prepared at the university named Yavuz Sultan Selim, it was said that Syrians received a salary of 895 lira per person. As there is no university named Yavuz Sultan Selim in Turkey, the state has never allocated a monthly salary to Syrians from its own budget. People under Temporary Protection or International Protection in Turkey who meet certain criteria are given a monthly 155 TL support funded by the European Union and called Social Cohesion Assistance. This money is not given to all Syrians living in Turkey, but only to people who meet certain criteria. KIZILAY mediates the delivery of this money to people in need with the KIZILAY CARD system.

-CLAIM #2-

Syrians Get Work Permit and Work Wherever They Want


According to the claim, which the source is social media and which has been shared repeatedly, the information was shared that Syrians can get a work permit and work freely wherever they want. Taking the claim further, some social media users stated that Syrians who got work permits fired Turkish workers and hired them.

For a foreigner to work in Turkey, a work permit must be given by Ministry of Family and Social Services. Work permit for foreigners can only be obtained by the employer. In other words, a Syrian does not have the right to obtain a work permit. Whoever wants to employ a foreigner or Syrian in his business, must apply for that foreign person on behalf of his business via his own e-Government (e-Devlet) account.

The work permit issued by the employer on behalf of a foreigner or Syrian is only valid for that workplace. In other words, the work permit issued for a foreigner or Syrian is not valid in all workplaces. As soon as the foreigner leaves that job, the work permit issued on his behalf is also cancelled. If an employer wants to employ a foreign worker in its own workplace, it must employ 5 Turkish citizens at present. Otherwise, the foreigner’s application will not be accepted.

-CLAIM #3-

Syrians Enter the University They Want Without Examining


In a post, the source of which is an anonymous social media account, it was claimed that Syrians can enroll in any department they want at the university they want, without any conditions or exams. The claim is usually brought up during the university examination and preference period, and it is taken even further that it is said that Syrians do not pay tuition fees.

Every student who is not a Turkish citizen is in a foreign student status. Syrians do not have an advantage over other foreign students at either state or foundation universities. For a foreign student to enter a state university, he or she must take the Foreign Student Exam (YÖS). In other words, the claim that they studied at the university they want without taking the exam is a fabrication. When they want to enter a foundation university, they must comply with the criteria determined by that university.

Each university has a quota approved by YÖK for foreign students. In other words, even if Syrians take the exam and meet all the conditions and pay the money, they cannot enroll in the department of the university they want, as there is a quota limit. As the daytime education is free and evening education is paid for Turkish students in state universities, both daytime and evening education must be paid for foreigners who enter the university with the YÖS exam. In foundation universities, foreign students cannot benefit from scholarship opportunities.

-CLAIM #4-

State Grants Scholarships to Every Syrian Going to University


In a post made by a Twitter user, it was claimed that every Syrian who went to university in Turkey was given scholarships ranging from 800 to 1200 liras by the state. The claim was brought up with the image of university students without specifying any source.

Educational scholarships given to foreigners, including Syrians, who study in Turkey are financed by Türkiye Scholarships. Students from all over the world can apply for scholarships. In other words, this scholarship is not a special scholarship for Syrians.

Not all Syrians who go to university are given scholarships. According to the data announced by YÖK, a total of 148 thousand foreign students, 25 thousand of whom are Syrians, receive education at universities in Turkey*. (*in 2019) %16.8 (25,000) of foreign students and %5.7 of Syrian students are given scholarships. There are success and age criteria for the scholarship.

In 2019, 145 thousand 700 people from 167 countries of the world applied for scholarships. Among them, approximately 5 thousand people were provided with scholarships. The state gives scholarships to foreigners who want to study, but this scholarship is neither specific to Syrians nor is it for every Syrian who goes to university.

-CLAIM #5-

Syrians Do Not Pay Vehicle Inspection Fee


In the claim, which was prepared by a news website on August 4, 2020, and shared by a Twitter user, who became a deputy on the same day, by citing this news, it was claimed that Syrians’ vehicles were inspected free of charge at TÜVTÜRK stations.

After TÜVTÜRK announced that the examination report used in the post, which received 8 thousand RTs and 15 thousand likes in a short time, belongs to a “Re-Inspection” and that the re-examination is free for everyone, the Twitter user who shared the claim published a correction message from his account.

In the statement made by TÜVTÜRK, it was informed that the vehicle inspection process is paid for everyone, including Syrians.

-CLAIM #6-

Syrians Don't Pay Taxes for Their Cars


In the claim, which comes to the agenda in January and July, when the Motor Vehicle Tax is paid, it is shared that the vehicles owned by Syrians are not taxed and are exempted from insurance and inspection procedures. Those who took the claim further were saying that Syrians do not have to get a driver’s license, that the traffic rules do not apply to Syrians, that the police send them without penalty if the person who violates the traffic rules is a Syrian driver.

In the 4th article of the Motor Vehicles Tax Law, the vehicles that are exempt from the motor vehicle tax are defined. These vehicles are general and special budget administrations, social security institutions and special provincial administrations, municipalities, village legal entities, and local government unions of which they are members, and vehicles registered and registered on behalf of the Turkish Red Crescent Society, embassy, and consulate vehicles, disability rate of at least %90. These are the vehicles registered in the names of the disabled and disabled people and the vehicles belonging to the bankruptcy administrations of the bankrupt banks. Among these vehicles, Syrians do not have vehicles.

All vehicles bought by Syrians from Turkey and brought from Syria are responsible for tax, insurance, inspection, and traffic fines. Every driver on the road is responsible for obtaining a driver’s license and obeying the traffic rules. No one has a privilege in this matter. In the inspection announcement published by TÜVTÜRK specifically for Syrians, it is stated that vehicles with tax, traffic fines, highway tolls, and insurance debts are not inspected.

-CLAIM #7-

Syrian Tradespeople Do Not Pay Taxes


According to the claim, which is widely shared among Facebook users, it is claimed that Syrian shop owners are exempt from taxes and are not supervised by municipalities.

Tax audit is carried out by the personnel affiliated to the tax directorate authorized in the provinces and districts. Every business enterprise is liable to pay taxes. If there is a business that is run illegally or does not pay taxes, this is not due to a right given to them. Syrian tradesmen have neither an exemption nor a privilege in terms of taxation.

Just as a Turkish citizen tradespeople register with the chamber of commerce/tradesman when he opens a business, buys a cash register, and issues invoices, the same is true for Syrian or other foreign tradesmen. The fact that an illegally operated cafe, grocery store, market, or clothing store does not pay taxes is not because of a privilege provided to Syrians, but because that business is illegal.

-CLAIM #8-

Syrians Don't Pay Water, Electricity, and Natural Gas Bills


The claim that Syrians do not pay bills is based on a free of charge water bill shared by a social media user. The phrase “Not billed due to low consumption” at the bottom of the invoice, which is the subject of the claim, was specifically covered during sharing, and it was stated that Syrians were not charged for water, electricity, and natural gas.

After the meeting with the water administration that issued the bill, it was stated that the person named on the bill moved from the house and terminated his subscription, and a zero (0) lira invoice was sent because only 1 cubic meter of water was consumed in the water meter in the last month. The application is applied to every subscriber for uses below 3 cubic meters. Invoices of 56 liras, 48 ​​liras, and 58 liras belonging to the Syrian subscriber were also shared by the water administration. Water, electricity, and natural gas are chargeable for everyone.

-CLAIM #9-

The State Will Pay the Syrians' Telephone Bill


The reason why we examine the claim that the Syrians’ phone bills will be covered by the state is that the person who made the claim was the editor and news chief of a national newspaper and cited a tender opened by the Directorate General of Migration Management as the source of his news. The newspaper had to publish a disclaimer after the allegation, which was fabricated and reported on a tender announcement.

A payphone card tender bid was held by the Directorate General of Migration Management to be given to foreigners waiting to be deported in Removal Centers. The aim here is to enable these people to meet with the authorities of their own country to obtain documents. The financing of the project is the European Union. This tender bid was not made to pay the telephone bills of Syrians living in Turkey. The claim that the state will pay the telephone bills of Syrians living in Turkey is nothing but fictional news.

-CLAIM #10-

Syrians Don't Wait in Line at the Hospital


The claim that Syrians do not wait in line at the hospital, which has been shared on social media for many years, is based on the writing of “Primary Patient” under the name of a person who is thought to be Syrian, on the polyclinic queue number tracking screen.

The priority order of examination in hospital patient services has been determined by the circular issued by the Ministry of Health. According to this public mandate, legal priority is given to emergency cases, disabled patients, pregnant women, military personnel in service, relatives of martyrs, veterans and their relatives, patients over the age of 65 and children under the age of seven. In other words, no legal priority has been defined for Syrians in hospitals.

If it is seen that a patient has priority on the sequence number tracking screen, this priority is not because they are Syrian, but because he meets one of the above-mentioned conditions.

-CLAIM #11-

Syrians Will Be Turkish Citizens After 5 Years


The claim was made by someone who judges the issue only by looking at the Turkish Citizenship Law which states that Syrians who somehow stayed in Turkey for 5 years will become Turkish citizens at the end of the 5th year, alongside with not knowing anything about the Temporary Protection Law and Regulation.

In the Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901, the conditions regarding how to acquire citizenship are clearly stated. Syrians in Turkey have Temporary Protection status. Persons under temporary protection do not have the right to become a Turkish citizen through residence for 5 years. If that were the case, all the 2 million 503 thousand 549 Syrians who arrived by the end of 2015 should have been Turkish citizens. However, according to the latest announced number, the number of Syrians who are Turkish Citizens is 110 thousand.

Similarly, Syrians under Temporary Protection do not have the right to marry a Turkish citizen and become a Turkish citizen by marriage.

-CLAIM #12-

Syrians Will Vote in Elections


It was claimed that the Syrians in Turkey could vote that there were around 5 million Syrians including the unregistered, and that if they all voted, the fate of the elections would change. When the allegation was made, it was not specified how the unregistered people were determined, it was not explained how an unregistered person would vote, and all of the Syrians, who were stated to be 5 million, were thought to be over the age of 18.

According to Article 67 of the Constitution, every Turkish citizen who has reached the age of 18 has the right to vote. It is not possible for a non-Turkish citizen to vote in the elections, and not all Syrians in Turkey are over the age of 18.

Syrians who become Turkish citizens by benefiting from exceptional citizenship gain the right to vote 1 year after being naturalized. According to the latest announced number, the number of Syrians granted Turkish citizenship is 110 thousand, and only 53 thousand 99 Turkish citizens of Syrian origin gained the right to vote in the 31 March local election, which was the last election.

-CLAIM #13-

Syrians Recruited as Civil Servants


According to the allegation, which first appeared on an anonymous account on social media in 2015, it was claimed that 100 thousand Syrians would be appointed as civil servants without seeking KPSS. The claim, which is shared from time to time by some social media users with the phrase “published in the official newspaper“, does not reflect the truth.

How many officers will be recruited to which institution is announced on the website of each institution. No such announcement has been found in the official gazette or on the websites of the institutions so far. In addition, according to Article 48 of the Civil Servants Law No. 657, foreigners do not have the right to be an “officer”. The first condition of being a civil servant is to be a Turkish citizen.

-CLAIM #14-

Syrian Teachers Appointed to Schools


According to a claim shared by a deputy on Twitter on November 6, 2018, without citing any source, it was claimed that 900 Syrian teachers were appointed to schools by the Ministry of National Education and that these teachers started to work as teachers in classes with Turkish students. With the press release made by the Ministry of National Education, it was revealed that the claim was unfounded.

A training program, financed by UNICEF, was started in order to improve the quality of education and solve the language problem, approximately 2 years before the date the allegations was shared (on August 8, 2016). Only those teaching in Syria were accepted into this training program

Those who successfully complete the education program work in schools where Syrian students are educated intensively, with their role as facilitators, to help children understand the Turkish education system and to support Syrian children who have language problems. These people are not teaching in the schools where they work, but they are interpreters to ensure the communication of the student and family with the school. These people do not attend classes and do not give lectures and are not civil servants.

-CLAIM #15-

Syrians Can Enroll Their Children In Any School They Want


In 2017, Bursa Provincial Directorate of National Education and in 2018 Adana Provincial Directorate of National Education ordered Syrian children who do not have an identity card to enroll in schools without seeking an address. The claim made by a deputy who posted this instruction on his Twitter account was shared as “Syrians can enroll their children in any school they want”. This post, made during the registration period, was met with reactions from many parents.

In the answer given to the question asked by the Minister of Education to be answered in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, it was informed that Syrian children with an identity card are automatically placed in schools by the system, that the instruction covers Syrian children who do not have an identity card, and that such an instruction was written to prevent these children from falling behind in education.

The registrations of the students who will enroll in kindergarten, primary and secondary school are made according to their address status via the e-registration system. Just as every citizen of the Republic of Turkey has a residence address registered with the Population Directorate, Syrians also have addresses registered in the system. Syrian children are also placed in schools according to these addresses.

-CLAIM #16-

Coronavirus Test is Free for Syrians, But Charged for Turkish Citizens


In a post shared by the @avrasyaanket account on Twitter on October 24, 2020, it was claimed that a female patient applied to the state hospital for a coronavirus test and was marked as “Syrian patient” by the officers so that she could not pay the test fee of 250 lira because she did not have insurance and money. In the continuation of the claim, which was made by citing the WhatsApp and Messenger conversations, for the test fee, “free charge to its own citizens, to Syrians.” expression was used. The claim that the test fee is paid for Turkish citizens and free for Syrians is unfounded.

With the Presidential decree dated April 13, 2020, it was decided to provide free protective equipment, diagnostic kit, coronavirus treatment and vaccination services to people who do not have social insurance. In other words, since April 13, 2020, everyone can benefit from coronavirus testing and treatment services free of charge, whether they have insurance or not.

-CLAIM #17-

Only 1 out of every 4 people living in Kilis is Turkish


In the news titled “Turks became a minority in Kilis” published on Sözcü on June 4, 2021, “The number of Syrians has increased significantly compared to the local population, while the proportion of Syrians in the urban population in Kilis has reached 74.8 percent, and only 1 person out of 4 living in the city has It was claimed that ‘he is Turkish’. In the continuation of the news, it was stated that 142 thousand 792 people live in Kilis and 105 thousand 689 of them are Syrians, by citing the 2020 urban population of TUIK. This news, which contains incomplete and incorrect information in terms of title and content, received 590 retweets and more than 1400 likes on Twitter.

The claim in the news that %74.8 of the population of the city consists of Syrians, that is, only 1 of every 4 people is Turkish, emerged due to a calculation error and is a content that has been reproduced by copy-paste technique not only in Sözcü but also in many news platforms. When the population of Kilis province as of 31 December 2020 by TURKSTAT and the number of Syrians under the Temporary Protection of Directorate General of Migration Management as of 26 May 2021 are added together, the number reaches 247 thousand 798. Since 105 thousand 6 of this number consists of Syrians in the GKK, it can be said that %42.3 of these two groups are Syrians, not 74.8%. Considering that people from other nationalities other than Turkish citizens and Syrians live in the city, this rate may decrease even more.

-CLAIM #18-

Syrians Get Driver's License Just by Taking Online Exam


In a content shared on Twitter on February 17, 2021, it was claimed that “Syrians have taken the exam online since 2018 and got their driver’s license”. In the claim, it was emphasized that the exam is in Arabic language and people who get a driver’s license can take this exam without even having Turkish citizenship. An image with traffic signs in Arabic was used to support the claim. The shared content received 288 RTs and 767 likes.

The claim that Syrians only get a driver’s license by taking an online exam is a false allegation stemming from a lack of knowledge. The driver’s license exam consists of two stages, the theoretical exam, and the driving exam. It is not possible to get a driver’s license without passing the driving test. Driving license exams have been conducted online since 4 August 2018 to cover all candidates. In countries that are party to the Road Traffic Convention, including Turkey, being a citizen of that country is not a condition for obtaining a driver’s license. There are not only Arabic but also English, German, Chinese, Russian, and Persian language options in the exams.