The Impact of Syria Crisis on the Antakya Region

Abstract After the demonstration against regime starting in Syria, Hatay had a hard time about economic, social, political and refugees that had never seen before. In this study, the effect of Syria crisis on the Hatay region is carried out from different aspects.

The effect of Syria crisis on Antakya The fact that the anti-regime demonstration in Syria turned into a civil war afterwards provoked an unexpexted crisis about both in Syria and the countries in that region. before the negotitation of Cenevre, the conflict in anti-regime powers themselves and the conflict between oppononents and regime gunfight showed the impossibility of the resolution of Syria crisis in an short time. Besides, this situation cause the intensification of the crisis of human dimension and bring about experiencing the development that will induce the triggering of new conflict dinamics that have effect in the level of both social and regional. However, in the development recently experienced in Hatay, border province of Syria, the fact that crisis effected many parts not only in the level of global and regional but also in micro level draws the attention. In this respect, in the field research working team conducted in different term in the region , it was confirmed that Syria crisis directly affected Hatay after the anti-regime demonstration and the dimension of the effect increased together with the deepining of the crisis.

 It is conducive to state the effect of crisis on Hatay region between Turkey and Syria:

1. After first refugees came from Syria to Hatay, distrust and stress started to come out between local groups. The fact that local people adopted new approach towards Syria crisis and start to be a side to the desproblem in differet respects increase the potential of converting the tension into a conflict;

2. It increased the process of alienation and desintegration between ethnic group and sectarian group in Hatay region.

3. The trade in border regions lead to the formation of new unrecorded economy in time. Border trade expanded to the degree from properties to the crossing the border of people;

4. Exportation from Syria,as a route, to Middle East damaged.

5. The opportunity of low-paid new labour force stemming from refugees of Syria lead to different effects on the economy of Hatay;

6. It causes the fact that ideological, denominational, and economic problems coming up between refugees from Syria and local people lead to a be a reason of social disturbance in the region.

7. The crisis increased depending upon the extension of refugees’ duration of stay in the tension between refugees of Syria and local groups.

8. The contribution to the local economy the people left coming Hatay with touristic purpose ended together with the appearance of conflict. This situation directly affected the local trades badly.

9. The result of refugees’ from Syria working at sub-sector lead to the social disturbance fact resulting from the appearance of work force fact. Furthermore, cheap workforce caused the reduce of business opportunity between the people of Syria;

10. Besides lowering the possibility of the hope of coming back for the people of Syria together with the increase in the severity of the war, it caused to appear the concern towards the regional balance of population in local people.

11. Although the war received support of the local economy group to meet the basic need of parties, the extention of the market of weapons in the region was perceived as threat by some groups.

12. It was proposed that the refugees from Syria affected the order in social level and some people assert that there is an increase in some cases together with the coming of the people of Syria. However, the opposite of the situation is true when the data under the control of authority are analyzed.

13. Although economic mobility resulted from national and international charitable foundation of the activity of the people in the region are reacted positively, this mobility caused a debate in the sense of culture.

14. Some concerns started to appear about the activity of international organisation.

15. It was proposed that people experience lose of life and property because of the conflicts in border region.

16. It was asserted that local public opportunities are not made use adequately. The main argument is that medical service is not utilized enough because of the use of the Syria people.

In fieldwork conducted as part of project and in interviews, the fact that the crisis with Syria affected the region of Hatay as stated under 16 articles above was observed. However, it is a fact that the most important point is the social tension and conflict betweenthe local people with themselves and the local people with the people of Syria. The fact that social life in Hatay is similar to Syria, approach of anti-regime and the regime supporters to the war at the denominational level and considerable number of alevi people having Arabic root, caused military development in Syria to directly affect the region of Hatay. In this sense, after the appearence of security problems and crisis, economic effects stayed in secondary position. The main reason of conflict in the city was the tension in the social level and the problem that the refugees brought apart from the effect of economic crisis of Syria. On the other hand, when observed in terms of economy, it can be easily said that primarily the war in Syria caused a depression in the economy of Hatay. It is stated the fact that unrecorded economy strenghtened, the investment of the refugees on the region of Hatay, cheap workforce resulted from refugees and the activity of international charitable foundation in the region, factors such as unrecorded border trade rejuvenate the region .

Especially, in the development in the border trading volume caused the different kinds of sources come into local economy. Although unrecorded oil products coming into Turkey over Hatay affects the tax income of the county badly in the near regions like Adana, Mersin, they caused to appear local units taking advantage of this. Though this situation made the increase of economic mobility, it cause the the social tension to become deepened. At the beginning of the dispute, there should be the fact that the border trade is carried out by the groups at the ethnic and denominational level. It is stated that together with the crisis, they retreated from the SyrAlevi people in the term before the crisis. Especially, it was observed that the result of intense oppression of dissentient group, trade was relayed. In the ovservation that the search team conducted at Cilveligözü border gate, it was observed that the border could not be passed by especially Arabic Alevi people in Syria. Despite the border being open, it was stated in the interviews during the field search that the pressure of opponents blocked the passage. It is important to put into practice besides the active opposition, economic development in order to restrict the effect of the crisis of Turkey-Syria over the region of Hatay, political development that reduces social tension immediately.

Suggestion toward the solution of the crisis in Antakya

It can be observed that there are economic and social effects of war in Syria. It is a requrement that the responsible people in charge take neccessary steps to restrict the effects of crisis over Hatay. It is thought that the action plan put into practice is not successful to annihiliate the effect of the crisis. In this respect, the search team could advice such things as;

1. Action plan needs to be prepared by taking into consideration of economical impact of crisis and special economical support should be offered to the group affected by crisis.

2. National and international public should support people’s struggle for life from with the increase of humanitarian aid at the level of economy.

3. Local groups,too, should be supported in the study of humanitarian aid. People in the regions where no refugees live should be aided wşth some projects.

4. A coordination unit at the level of Antakya should be set up and the effects should be analyzed in all respects. In the direction of the information acquired, solution offers are put into practice.

5. By providing a course which helps refugees get a job in Hatay, new workforce should be utilized in the reconstruction of the region.

6. New enforcements should be put into practice in the situation of smuggling which occurs with the loss of control in terms of Syria.

7. If unrecorded economy is not prevented, to block the country’s tax loss, new regulation should be done temporarily.

8. By taking into consideration the process of desintegration and alienation between different groups in the region of Hatay, initiatives including proving the social peace should be prioritised. The support of civil society organisation could be applied.

9. Because the exportation realized in Syria and then Egypt come to a halt, to prevent the financial loss, a research committee and a fund should be set up.

10. To make an positive effect of the new opportunity of low-paid workforce stemming from the refugees of Syria on the economy of Hatay, working right should be known in a short time.

11. To restrict the effect directly on Hatay in terms of the human factor and logistic of civil war in Syria , some safety and enquiry measures should be taken.

12. In order to annihilate the problems of economy and ideology resulting from between the refugees Syria and local people, some factors should be taken into consideration when choosing the camps of refugees.

13. To provide the economic support for the refugees living outside the camp, the support plansa re put into practice.

14. To realize the regulation fort he places refugees live and to put forward the effect of economy effected by crises for the ones dealing with i turizm, health and the transportation.

15. To remove the the socail disturbance resulted from the new work force in the region because of the work refugees do in sub-sector, practice of feasibility should be counducted in the region of Hatay.

16. Putting regulations into practice including the some security and enquiry that are conducted by opponents in the central of the city and contributing the prevent of restlessness in the local community.

17. In order not to cause a tax loss of the country, economic mobility resulting from the activity of national and international in the region should be pursued not only in the dimention of security but also the dimension of the ministry of labour.

18. For small and medium-scaled businesses in the region of Hatay, special regulation should be done aimed at tax credit and bank loan.

19. Banking sector together with the crisis in Syria the firms’ of Hatay the study of legal infrastructure of the people wanting different guarantees the and carrying out criminal action against the bank that conduct a different practice.

20.Despite being temporal, because of the increase in house rents, the fact that housing benefit could be realized.

21. Organizing the activities that keep the refugees in touch with the local community and actualising the common projects

22. encouraging the business people for founding the private schools giving the education of learning of Arabic-Turkish and promote a foundation of infrustructure of ‘ The Turkish-Arabic University’. As a result, the region of Hatay has become a part of crisis because of the war in Syria. To leşsen the impact of crisis, it is neccessary that local factors have to be given a support in dşfferent fields. To lessen the impact of the crisis, both local factors and international factors should give the support with porjects to Antakya.

Prof. Dr. Kamuran Reçber & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Veysel Ayhan


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