Syrian entrepreneurs thrive in Turkey, boost economy
In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, home to around half a million Syrians who fled the civil war south of the border, hundreds of Syrian businesses are thriving in a boost both for the displaced community and their host country. Over 3.5 million Syrians are registered in Turkey, far more than in any other country that has welcomed refugees of the seven-year war.
Turkish officials highlight the major economic burden of hosting so many refugees but the presence of this new population -- many well-qualified and multilingual -- and the success of their businesses have also been a fillip for the Turkish economy, contrary to widely-held assumptions.
More than 6,500 companies founded or co-founded by Syrians have been registered in Turkey since the 2011 start of the war, according to the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.
And the Syrian Economic Forum (SEF), an organisation which aims to develop entrepreneurship among the Syrian diaspora, estimates the number in fact to be over 10,000 when the informal sector is included.
In Gaziantep alone, 1,250 Syrian companies are registered with the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Rami Sharrack, deputy executive director at SEF.
In a large complex in Gaziantep's industrial zone, Syrian businessman Amer Hadri, head of prominent crisp and snack packaging company Zirve Extrusion, has succeeded in resuming his business, once based in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo.