Following the new Global Compact for Refugees (GCR), adopted at the United Nations late last year, Kemal Kirisci and Jessica Brandt call EU to negotiate a preferential trading arrangement with Turkey that covers agricultural products produced with a threshold level of Syrian labor. According to the article published via Brookings:
“It would enable larger numbers of Syrian refugees, as well as host community residents, to find legal employment in Turkey; add value to the Turkish economy; enable Turkey to better integrate some of its 3.5 million Syrian refugees; and contribute to greater social cohesion, potentially dampening Syrians’ temptation to move to Europe. It would also be a win for the international community by demonstrating that the GCR, in the words of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, is indeed ‘a practical workable model’ offering ‘a set of tools that translates’ the principle of burden-sharing ‘into action’ “
While the scholars’ suggestion base on the fact that a very few number of Syrians are formally integrated into Turkish economy whereas many would be employed in agricultural sector since a large population of Syrian refugees has come from rural areas in northern Syria. It seems like the argument is missing evidence on the actual extent of the refugee population who would be willing to be employed in agricultural sector and therefore be convinced to not to move to Europe; particularly considering the significant urbanization of Syrian population in recent years in addition to the greater structural barriers for refugees to have a secure and sustainable future in Turkey.