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There is an increasing interest in the working conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Apart from the Turkish government, many agencies of the United Nations (UN), as well as various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and transnational corporations (TNCs) implement programmes and projects to tackle the varying needs of Syrian refugees. Rather than solely objectifying refugees as a vulnerable group, paying attention to their contribution to industrial relations is crucial in order to acknowledge refugees as active agents capable of changing their lives and the structures within which they operate. Syrian refugees follow a survival strategy based on their social networks that also affects and changes the living and working conditions of local people, and existing labour relations. This working paper focuses on the relations between the informal and formal sectors in Turkey and how such relations have affected the survival strategies of Syrian refugees. In turn, it also attempts to assess how the participation of Syrian refugees in the informal economy has changed these historical relations between formal and informal employment. The paper will initially provide a general picture of the employment of Syrian refugees in Turkey and then share fieldwork observations.



Working paper

Publication Date





1 - 18


Syrian refugees, Turkish textile-apparel sector, supply chain management, child labour, ethical trade, labour networks