The Use of Big Mobile Data to Gain Multilayered Insights for Syrian Refugee Crisis

Kılıç Ö. O. , Akyol M. A. , Işık O. , Günel Kılıç B. , Aydınoğlu A. U. , Sürer E. , ...More

in: Guide to Mobile Data Analytics in Refugee Scenarios , Salah A.,Pentland A.,Lepri B.,Letouzé E., Editor, Springer, London/Berlin , Zürich, pp.347-379, 2019

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Springer, London/Berlin 
  • City: Zürich
  • Page Numbers: pp.347-379
  • Editors: Salah A.,Pentland A.,Lepri B.,Letouzé E., Editor


This study aims to shed light on various aspects of refugees’ lives in Turkey using mobile call data records of Türk Telekom, enriched with numerous local data sets. To achieve this, we made use of several statistical and data mining techniques in addition to a novel methodology to find home and work-time anchors of mobile phone users we developed. Our results showed that refugees are highly mobile as a survival strategy—a significant number of whom work as seasonal workers. Most prefer to live in relatively low-status neighborhoods, close to city transport links and fellow refugees. The ones living in these neighborhoods appear to be introverts, living in a closed neighborhood. However, the middle- and upper-class refugees appear to be the opposite. Fatih, İstanbul was found as an important hub for refugees. Finally, the officially registered refugee numbers do not reflect the real refugee population in Turkey. Due to their high mobility, refugees lag behind in keeping up-to-date information about their residential address, resulting in a significant discrepancy between the official numbers and the real numbers. We think that policymakers can benefit from the proposed methods in this study to develop real-time solutions for the well-being of refugees.