Rent Prices Soar in Turkey’s Gaziantep as Refugees Flee Border Tensions

Real estate agents say rise in rent can be attributed to refugees fleeing continued ISIS shelling of Kilis south of Gaziantep, while others claim hikes are more likely the result of profiteers

Finding a house to rent has become increasingly difficult in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, where prices have soared amid a heavy displacement movement northward into Turkey as insecurity plagues the border, while the Islamic State group continues to target the city of Kilis with random shelling from the Syrian side.

Iqtissad toured local real estate agencies in the city of Gaziantep, which boasts a huge Syrian community and a high number of refugees. Difficulties in finding an acceptable house to rent was immediately noticeable.

Syrian-run estate agents attributed the rise in renting costs to two factors: the high demand on houses by Syrians who fled the border town of Kilis after it witnessed artillery attacks and shelling; and the approach of summer in which many industries will witnesses an increase in economic activity.

But Al-Awael Real Estate Agency rejected the idea, instead blaming the hike on agents profiteering from recent circumstances by raising the prices by an estimated 15 percent since last year.

Estate agent Abuo Faris said he did not consider the rise in rent costs was a significant factor as consumer prices have also risen throughout the whole city.

“The prices are already high and do not tolerate more rise, especially with the drop in job opportunity," he said.

Abdullah al-Essa, a Syrian refugee, confirmed the increase in the cost of rent in Gaziantep as he was forced to leave the city for Antalya because he was unable to afford the rent after leaving Kilis.

Essa said he was curious why so many Syrians prefer to reside in Gaziantep despite the high cost of living and lack of job opportunities, claiming that rent is lower and job opportunities are better in Antalya.

The Turkish military has increased its presence in Kilis after the city was targeted by the Islamic State’s cross-border rockets from territory it controls in northern Syria.

Turkey is planning for additional military measures after suffering almost 50 artillery attacks from the ISIS-controlled territory in Syria since January this year, killing at least 17 and wounding scores of others in Kilis.

In response, an agreement has been reached with Washington to deploy a missile system in Turkey along the Syrian border where ISIS is known to have a presence as part of a strategy to seal off the region around the Syrian town of Manbij.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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