In December 2016 Refugees International (RI) carried out a mission to Turkey, visiting refugees and asylum-seekers in several cities including Istanbul, Denizli, Konya, Aksaray, and Kayseri. Pictured here is a family of Afghan refugees living in Denizli.
Turkey hosts more refugees and asylum seekers than any other country, 2.8 million from Syria and another 290,000 from other countries, particularly Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Pictured here is a group of Afghan refugees living in Aksaray.
One of the biggest challenges faced by refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey is finding housing. Many live in crowded houses and struggle to pay for heat and rent. Pictured here is a family of Afghan refugees living in Kayseri.
“Except God, we don’t have anyone.” The Afghan woman pictured here told RI about her feeling of isolation in Turkey and how she, like many refugees, carries traumatic experiences with her. She lost her husband and son in Afghanistan and told RI that now she sometimes sleeps in front of the door to their room feeling she must protect her remaining daughters.
The Turkish government provides healthcare at a subsidized rate for refugees, but inability to find jobs and the language barrier create challenges. This Afghan refugee in Aksaray told RI he works as a day laborer, sometimes going unpaid, and has been overwhelmed by costs for caring for three children with health conditions, including not only medical bills, but also transportation and interpreter costs.
Access to education is another challenge. While Turkey provides access to schools, the cultural and language barriers make learning difficult and often lead to refugees dropping out of school. Pictured here, a 6-year-old Afghan refugee in Aksaray shows RI her artwork.
The winter brings the additional challenge of staying warm. Many refugees and asylum-seekers depend on coal-burning stoves, but not all are receiving the assistance they need. Pictured here, RI’s Izza Leghtas interviews a mother with her child in Denizli.
Many refugees in Turkey face particular vulnerabilities based on their race, religion, or sexual identity. Pictured above are two transgender women from Iran.
“The biggest challenge is not having a clear situation, not knowing what will happen to you. Financial problems can be solved, something figured out, but not having a clear future really is worrying for us.” Ali, a 48-year-old Afghan refugee telling RI about one of the most widely shared concerns among refugees in Turkey.
In December 2016, a Refugees International team traveled to Turkey to examine the status of refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey. The RI team traveled across Turkey, visiting several cities including Istanbul, Denizli, Konya, Aksarary, and Kayseri. The refugees they spoke with were from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, among other countries.