Syrian refugees in Turkey – “The only reason why we endure these awful conditions in the camp is that there are no planes bombing us from above.”

It is already known, since the start of the revolt in Syria, the number of Syrians crossing the border into Turkey has sharply increased. According to the United Nation Refugee Agency, by February 2013 the number of Syrian refugees has reached around 182,621. We all know the Turkish governments’ hostile position to the Syrian regime and that Syrian migration became linked with the Turkish domestic politics.
Syrians have been trying to find a job in order to move out from the refugee camps which were provided by the Turkish government. There have been many complaints about camp conditions, unequal distribution of basic goods, food and medical treatment. Especially, during the winter time, it gets much harder to survive, the camps are not suitable for winter weather, and tents are often flooded.
As one of the refugees stated “The camp conditions are great if you don’t mind living like animals, but if you want to live like a human, the conditions are unacceptable.”

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It is important to highlight that there are a lot of Syrians outside the camps, living in mosques or parks, but wealthier families prefer renting apartments rather than staying in camps. Many Syrians are being employed without work permits, but they are not even getting benefits from their jobs. Majority of them are forced to work under exploitative conditions, for instance in construction sites, factories, farms and so on. Those who are still living in camps, trying to save money to rent apartments, but the average salary that they are making is not enough, 15 Turkish liras which is less than 7 euros per day. Also, it is necessary to mention that not only Syrian men are involved in the labor force but also women and children. According to many Syrians majority of farms and factories prefer and exploit Syrian workers rather than locals, since they are cheaper. Therefore, in this case Syrian refugees can be simply recognized as losers.
http://www.migrationpolicycentre.eu/docs/MPC-RR-2013-05.pdf

Madina Orazakynova (Dubai Campus)

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Syrian refugees in Turkey – “The only reason why we endure these awful conditions in the camp is that there are no planes bombing us from above.”

  1. This is terrible, globalisation is meant to internationally integrate ideas, cultures and people but no one seems to want to take responsibility for the Syrian refugees other than maybe Germany and Sweden. I feel like I need to add though, comparing Turkey to Syria’s Arab neighboring countries, they were the first to open their doors and they did take in a lot of Syrians refugees, probably more than they could handle, hence the awful camp conditions . Syrians in Lebanon are treated just as bad if not worse, facing discrimination from the Lebanese population. I watched a video (which I would have shared if it wasn’t in Arabic) of Lebanese population being interviewed and asked about what they thought of the Syrian refugees in their country and none of them had anything good to say, when asked if they would welcome Ukrainians, they said sure our doors are open to everyone. Much of this kind of hypocrisy is found in the Arab world when it comes to helping their brothers, making it difficult for Syrian refugees to lead meaningful dignified lives in any of the camps, be it in Lebanon or Jordan. Turkey simply bit off more than it can chew.

  2. This is terrible, globalisation is meant to internationally integrate ideas, cultures and people but no one seems to want to take responsibility for the Syrian refugees other than maybe Germany and Sweden. I feel like I need to add though, comparing Turkey to Syria’s Arab neighboring countries, they were the first to open their doors and they did take in a lot of Syrians refugees, probably more than they could handle, hence the awful camp conditions . Syrians in Lebanon are treated just as bad if not worse, facing discrimination from the Lebanese population. I watched a video (which I would have shared if it wasn’t in Arabic) of Lebanese population being interviewed and asked about what they thought of the Syrian refugees in their country and none of them had anything good to say, when asked if they would welcome Ukrainians, they said sure our doors are open to everyone. Much of this kind of hypocrisy is found in the Arab world when it comes to helping their brothers, making it difficult for Syrian refugees to lead meaningful dignified lives in any of the camps, be it in Lebanon or Jordan. Turkey simply bit off more than it can chew.
    Balqis Hindash M00385581

  3. Very informative post, thanks Madina! I agree with Balqis – Turkey was one of the first countries to accept Syrian refugees. The sad part is that often only a limited amount of space is given to refugees; so because they can’t build horizontally, they have to build vertically, but of course they don’t have the capacity to build high rise buildings like the ones that we have here in Dubai. As a result, the conditions of the refugee camps are extremely extremely poor as you highlighted. With virtually no infrastructure, people practically end up living on top of each other, no proper water and sanitation can lead to spread of diseases, and exposed electrical wires often results in fires.
    This has also been the case for many Palestinian refugees living in camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

    Deena Abdo

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