Syrian refugees in a recent interview said life had become extremely difficult in Turkey due to the current economic crisis and increasing prices.
Speaking to the Bianet news website, Syrians said they had been living in Turkey for years but currently were going through the most difficult period. They complained of feeling socially alienated and economically disadvantaged.
Ahmet Abdul, 30, said he had been living in Turkey since 2014 and had started a family in the country but still felt like a “foreigner.” He said he wanted to return to Syria but could not see a safe future for his family there.
“I can barely provide for my family in Turkey,” he said. “I make TL 4,000 [$273] a month, and most of the money goes for basic needs such as rent and bills. I can’t even buy my children chocolate or snacks.”
An 18-year-old man identified as Muhammed said he had been in Turkey for seven years with his mother and six siblings. They earned their living by selling water and napkins on the street.
“We can’t get proper jobs or enroll in school because Turkey has canceled our residence cards. We were deported to Idlib, but there were many Islamic State sympathizers there, and since we’re Kurds we couldn’t stay,” he said.
Muhammed explained that they found a way to return to Turkey but had to live with no official registration in a city or residence permits. He added that they lived in a one-room-apartment but struggled to pay the rent.
“We can’t return to Syria, but we can’t live decently here, either. We hope to return to Syria as soon as it’s safe for us,” he said.
Other Syrians also complained of rising rent and dwindling salaries. Many said social discrimination added to their economic problems. “Turks blame us for the economic crisis and for stealing their jobs,” said a Syrian man named Ferad. “But many Syrians work in jobs other people don’t want to do, anyway. We actually contribute to the economy, but politicians always point at us as the reason for the crisis.”
Turkey is currently in the middle of an economic crisis as consumer prices accelerated to an annual rate of 61.14 percent, up from 54.4 percent in February.
Refugees in Turkey have been increasingly targeted by hate speech and hate crimes and are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic ills.
Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against Syrians in Turkey.
According to UNHCR Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide. The country is currently home to some 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees along with close to 320,000 persons of concern from other nationalities.