The Syrian Odyssey – Istanbul
After the beginning of the Syrian revolution, which ended up in a bloody war lasting for more than three years by now , over a million Syrians found refugee in Turkey. In a first moment they were hosted in refugee camps near the Syrian-Turkish border, but due to the daily life difficulties many of them decided to reach the Turkish capital. The former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan favoured the Syrian immigration promising a concrete help, but after using the Syrian case for his project of Arabization of Turkey, he abandoned the refugees to their destinies.
Unlike the migrants, who halt in Istanbul before recatching Europe with the help of the traffickers, the refugees can not be repatriated.
The Syrians in Istanbul come from different social classes. Some of them stay in the Turkish capital waiting to seek refugee in Europe, others have invested capitals to open restaurants and commercial activities with the idea of remaining in Turkey definitively.
The poorest families, always emarginated by the Turkish people, live in difficult situations. The houses they stay in are often unsafe and without running water or heating. Thanks to the unity of the Syrian group in Istanbul were born associations and schools, which help the refugees providing them with food and medicine, educate their children and teach them the Turkish language.
The situation is creating discontent and tensions in Istanbul, especially among the conservative and ultranationalist Parties, giving birth to anti-Syrian demonstrations. “”Life in Turkey is very hard, the Syrians can not work because they do not have the necessary permits and the only solution is to work illegaly. There are children who work 15 hours per day to bring to their families few money which are not even necessary to buy the bread. When the war is over I want to go back to Damascus, to my family, to my land.”