A fight between two groups quickly turned into a mass assault on the Syrian community in the Esenyurt District of Istanbul on 9 February. A mass crowd chanted xenophobic slogans on the streets where many Syrians live and own small shops. Despite the extensive aggression and damage to Syrian shops, no measures were taken against Turkish citizens, while three Syrians were arrested. In their published report on the incident, IHD (Human Rights Association) pointed to the temporary protection status of Syrians as accelerating their insecure position, and called on authorities to take the necessary measures to stop future racist aggression.
Following the new Global Compact for Refugees (GCR), adopted at the United Nations late last year, Kemal Kirisci and Jessica Brandt call EU to negotiate a preferential trading arrangement with Turkey that covers agricultural products produced with a threshold level of Syrian labor. According to the article published via Brookings:
Al Monitor on Turkey’s plans of creating a safe zone along its border with Syria, which according to the Turkish President would allow millions of Syrians to ‘return home’. Frustrated by the slow process, Erdogan signaled that Turkey would proceed with their plans even without the involvement of the US and Russia.
Via Al Monitor – “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his pledge to launch a military offensive in northern Syria, saying on Monday that his military aims to create a safe zone in the area so that the 4 million or so Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkey can return home.”
Via Hâlâ Gazeteciyiz – This Study by Funda Cantek and Cavidan Soykan traces notions as movement of Turkey-bound migration, the conditions of migrants who have settled in various cities in Turkey temporarily or permanently and their relationship with the local inhabitants, Turkey’s migration policy, and incidents in which migrants were presented as victims or perpetrators by browsing the dailies Sözcü, Hürriyet and Yeni Akit from the beginning of AKP rule in 2002 up to now.
Following the outrage over Syrians celebrating the new year in Istanbul, the Turkish interior minister gave an extensive interview to journalist Kübra Par. While trying to ease the xenophobic sentiments by denying myths about Syrians, such as “they are being accepted to universities without examination”, “they don’t have to wait in lines in the hospitals” or “they are given free public housing”, Minister Soylu also promotes a cultural and moral perspective on Syrians that highlights a historicized imagination of brotherhood of religion and being in arms. Minister Soylu also provides some significant data on Syrians. He says that 294,000 have returned to Syria, 65,000 have been granted work permits, 76,443 have been granted citizenship, and 645,000 children have been integrated into public education system. The full interview can be read in Turkish via HaberTurk. Below is a link to a brief report by the News Tribe, based on the same interview.
Molly O’Toole covers the complexity of a life between displacement and return for Syrian refugees in Turkey for Newsweek. Collating stories of several Syrian interviewees, the article highlights the challenges regarding the flight to Turkey, living conditions with severe barriers to registration, education, work and health, as well as the expectations on resettlement despite the rising discourse of ‘return’:
“The refugees face a no-win situation: If they return to Assad’s Syria, they risk conscription, disappearance and sectarian retribution, as well as an utter lack of basic services and opportunity. If they stay in Turkey, they face chronic uncertainty and destitution, as domestic and international politics turn against them.”
This article was originally published by Newsweek.
A video of hundreds of Syrian men celebrating the new year in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, waving Syrian rebel flags and chanting slogans against Syrian President Bashar Assad sparked heated debate on social media in Turkey
Twoarticles originally published by Ahval News originally covered this story.
Burcu Karakaş reports on the everyday challanges for Syrian refugee women in Turkey: “Violence, exploitation, marginalisation: these are the challenges of a difficult everyday life for many Syrian refugee women in Turkey”
Rima, whose name has been changed for security reasons, is a young Syrian woman. Until five years ago, she was living in Syria with her family. One day, a bomb dropped on their house, killing her husband and three brothers. After this unexpected tragedy, Rima, mother of three, left her hometown for Turkey.
Health and Safety Labour Watch-Turkey published the results of its yearly report on “murders because of work” regarding migrant workers. HESA Labour Watch-Turkey is a network organization carried out by workers and their families from various industries, lines of work, and professions fighting for a healthy and safe life and working conditions. HESA Labour Watch defines certain worker deaths as “murders because of work” rather than “work accidents” to highlight that all work accidents and occupational illnesses are preventable. Therefore, we are presenting you the results of this valuable report in an English translation that complies with the terminology used in the original.