ISTANBUL - THE NEW SETTLEMENT FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES
The influx of Syrian refugees into the biggest city Istanbul have changed previous image of the city. Refugees live in front of touristic sites,on small patches of grass throughout the city. Children, the whole families huddle together on street corners and beg for money.
In August 2014, hundreds of people clashed with police in Istanbul, protesting against the ingressof Syrian refugees.
In his interview to Aljazeera Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu claimed that the street beggars are disturbing the whole Syrian refugee’s community.
Khaled Alhallak is a survivor of war in Damascus. Two years ago he was working as a sales manager in Damascus, distributing aluminum bars among the cities. The war between Asad forces and rebels destroyed the company office and big store he worked in.
Khaled, the eldest child in the family,forcedly left Damascus with his brothers, leftparents and fourth brother in Damascus.Showing pictures of bombed houses, 31 years old man from Syria remembers how he lost his cousin inan explosion: "Free Syrian Army and Assad's militants forced everyone to leave. We did not have choice, either you fought or you had toescape."
Khaled saved 8000 USD infour years and bought a house, planned to marry. But military planes of Assad struck all buildings there, including the house Khaled bought.
Now Khaled is working as a receptionist in one of Boat Tours Company in Istanbul. Young boy from Syria shares the flat with other nine young cohabitants. He cannot afford marring yet, renting an apartment in the city will cost him at least 800 USD.
Newscafe.ge asked Istanbul citizens what they thought about Syrian refugees. Muzaffer Bayraktar, personnel of Tashoren Municipality doesn't see any problem in Syrians arrival to Istanbul. "Istanbul can host everybody, it has enough space. These people suffered from war, no one wants to be in their place. Turk people must help them."
A policeman at night shift in Taksim says that the number of beggars have significantlyincreased since Syrian refugees settled in Istanbul. Though the crime statistics remains the same, said he.
According to the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners the company must have minimum 10 Turkish citizens employed to hire foreigners. Yilmaz Ozluk is the owner of tourism company and employer of 19 years Syrian boy from Damascus, says Turkish government "demonstrates tolerance toward Syrian refugees and create all necessary environment by giving them residence and job permission." Applicants from Syria are more privileged to get paid jobs than other candidates. "For me, says Yilmaz Ozluk, a young Syrian boy I gave a job, is a brilliant person.I pay him minimal salary, whichis enough to cover his live expenses. Rahman (fictional name) says it is extremely difficult to get foreign passport in Syria. Many people are forced to pay more money for passport and in any resistance you can find you dead. "When I went to Lebanon people who had paid for their passport suddenly disappeared on border. No one knows where they went.”
Rahman feels himself lucky because he lived in the capital of Syria,where it was much safe than in other cities. "Armed people can arrest you for no reason. Asad wants young generation without any dignity and goals," says Rahman.
His previous work in one of the Istanbul's factories Rahman described as "living like a robot". He has a dream to collect money and finish his study at the university."I don't have so many options so I tried to search in every place". YilmazOzluk promised young Syrian increase salary after a month if he proves himself.
Now I am good Alhamdulillah and trying harder to make my dream comes true, says Rahman.