Economics: Refugees in turkey

The purpose of this assignment is therefore to give you practice testing/illustrating an argument using data and graphs. Note that the data pattern you find may not support your original argument, but this is totally fine. Practice finding appropriate data and graphs to satisfy your curiosity and illustrate your thoughts is the goal here. One very important thing to note is that we want to see the effort of collecting data on your own by checking publicly available data, and making the graphs and tables by yourself. The tables and graphs should not be a copy and paste of an existing article. You do not have to make fancy arguments, but you have to think about what kind of data tables and graphs can illustrate your arguments and satisfy your curiosity. Bearing the above in mind, an outline should have the following elements. ● Motivation of the brief paper ● Statement of your hypothesis/point: the statement has to involve the countries we discuss in this course. ● Logical argument of your hypothesis: this can be two to three sentences. Do not write long paragraphs. ● Data ○ Data Source ○ Variable definition: Write down the definition of the variables in your data if the variable you are using is not common. Note: When you see a variable in your data, always first check the definition, see if the definition fits into the measure you have in mind. ● Data presentation ○ one scatter plot: specify the x, y variables, inclusion of countries, and produce one scatter plot. Note that we encourage you to also use other kinds of graphs, e.g., bar and line graphs, but you must have one scatter plot. ○ The reason you choose to compare the selected countries for certain years in the graphs you will produce. The comparison level need not be at the country level. For example, you can also compare sectors within a country. ○ Have at least one population weighted average. You can use the weighted averages to compare one area to another: e.g., Sub-Saharan vs Meditarranean; Middle East vs Latin America. Or you can use population weighted average to compare a country to the area, e.g., Tunisia vs Mediterranean countries.

Reflection notes: There will be a short graded assignment each week that will be due by Friday at 5pm starting October 2. After each week’s lectures you will be expected to submit answers to a Canvas quiz containing the three questions below: 1) What were the most important 1-2 new things you learned from the lectures and/or readings that you did not know before class? Describe one way in which what you learned connects to either a different subject/topic you are interested in, or a personal experience. 2) What were 1-2 points discussed in lectures/readings that you are still confused/unclear about and would like some further clarification on? 3) What topics/questions would you like to learn more about or discuss more based on content covered in the lectures/readings?



Immigration is a highly prevalent problem in the Middle East. The ravaging wars in Syria have caused a lot of people to seek refuge in neighboring Turkey.  In response, Turkey has allocated a vast budget to cater for the needs of the incoming refugees.  The goal of this paper is to provide a show the relationship between the numbers of refugees in Turkey versus the amount of Official Development that the Government set aside to fulfil the needs of the refugees.

The unprecedented influx of refugees in Turkey has caused a rapid shift in the social, economic and political spectrum in Turkey. Given the history of Turkey’s bilateral development cooperation over the last decade to Syria, it is plausible to conclude that Official Development Assistance increases proportionally to the number of refugees that the host country receives annually.

Following an in-depth analysis of Turkey’s ODA website, I gathered comprehensive information/data on the varying sources of funds injected into the Turkish economy to provide basic amenities to the refugees, as represented in the graphs below. From the data collected, it is evident that Turkey is a significant donor to the Syrian economy. Most of these funds are allocated o refugees in the Syrian border seeking asylum or GSR status in the Turkish borders. Primarily Turkey’s ODA is mainly based on concerted efforts in response to the ongoing crisis in its neighboring countries.  In 2015 Turkey allocated approximately $2694 million a 70% increase from the previous years, as shown in the graph below.

Top recipients of Turkey’s Official Development Assistance

Country ODA in current US Dollars (2015)
Syria 2694
Somalia 314
Kyrgyzstan 98.4
Albania 85.7
Afghanistan 56.8
West Bank and Gaza Strip 29.8


The decision to provide international humanitarian aid is solely based on the population-weighted average. A nation’s potential to host refugees is primarily based on the strength and value of the economy. Traditionally influx of refugees negatively affects the economy, with exceptions to highly developed economies. According to the International Monetary Fund, Turkey is a developed country that boasts a vibrant and emerging economy.  The Government has a diverse and highly complex agricultural sector. As of 2018, Turkey’s human development index was 0.81 a relatively high score compared to many countries in the Middle East. The country’s population-weighted average amounts to 298 refugees with an annual relief fund of approximately $ 1191190. According to a 2018 report, the state receives more than 3, 993340 refugees per year.



According to UNHCR, Turkey amasses the highest number of refugees in the Middle East. As of 2020, the country was home to more than 4000,000 refugees, and the number is still growing. This large amount of refugees into the EU has affected the hosts in a social, political, and economical way. Although it has a strong economy, it does not have a robust and diverse financial aid framework to cater to all the refugees. Located in the Middle East’s heart, Turkey receives masses of refugees from all the neighboring war-torn countries. As a result, Turkey has set up numerous settlement areas across its borders to offer aid to refugees fleeing their home countries.  Therefore, most relief aid is allocated to urgent and immediate intervention at the borders, such as healthcare, food, and water access. By the time these refugees are granted full GSR status or asylum, there are no monetary funds to ease their transition into the country. In this regard, refugees’ presence has become a constraint on the Turkish population since it cannot support the incoming refugees. In this regard, the Official Development Assistance from Turkey is not directly proportional to the number of refugees or the population-weighted average.

Over the years, there have been refugee programs and settlement areas in Turkey. This is because of the low returns on programs and systems set up for the refugees. Historically refugees in Turkey worked in the agriculture and manufacturing sector. Although the transition and settlement process is cumbersome due to culture shock and language barriers, the Government allocated a myriad of resources for training to facilitate a smooth transition into the job market. Today these industries have gravitated to more diversified economies, especially with the continuous advancement in technology.  As a result, these industries cannot absorb unskilled field personnel.  This has dramatically cut off the budgetary allocations to refugees’ training programs, significantly affecting the local economies. Furthermore, most economies examine the return on investment before allocating budgetary relief funds to refugee programs and resettlement. This is the initial guiding framework to assess the risk profile a country can inject into the plans.

In summary, the official development assistance data does not match the number of refugees in Turkey. Turkey receives the highest number of refugees in the country in the least, and the numbers are still increasing. Although the state allocates approximately 6.2 billion to the official development assistance fund, it does not fully cover the refugees’ needs. In response to the ravaging wars in neighboring Syria, Turkey mainly relies on seeking a haven away from home. The funds mainly cater to humanitarian aid, civil society, governance, education, food, and health. The influx of massive waves of refugees impedes the training and eventual absorption into the job market. Many refugees in a large and highly technologically integrated economy lead to a significant spike in unemployment.


Fidan, H., & Nurdun, R. (2008). Turkey’s role in the global development assistance community: the case of TIKA (Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency). Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans10(1), 93-111

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