Cansu Şimşek – HATAY
Syrian refugees in the southern province of Hatay are struggling to continue their lives on the side of the roads, as they have spent all of their money in attempting to cross illegally into Turkey.
The refugees in the Kırıkhan district of Hatay have now formed their own tent city and wish to obtain temporary IDs.
One of the main destinations of refugees is Hatay because it is near the border. The first tent city was formed in the province, which hosts nearly 385,000 refugees, six years ago when the war began. A number of refugee camps and container cities have been established since then.
Due to recent developments in the region, there has been an increase in the number of illegal passages to Turkey. A majority of those who cross illegally into Turkey with their makeshift tents opt to come to Hatay.
The main aim of those who arrive in Turkey is to be granted a temporary ID in order to obtain regular aid and send their children to the container schools set up for refugees.
The oldest residences of the road-side tent city arrived in the province a year ago. They work as unregistered seasonal workers during spring and summer and in construction jobs in the center of the province during the winter.
A majority of them arrive in Hatay after navigating mine-filled areas, spending all of their money on this dangerous journey.
One of their biggest problems is access to water, as they are forced to carry water from taps in the fields.
Moreover, all of the residents have to use a single bathroom erected in the field.
There is also a washing machine and a dishwasher in a tent used as the kitchen.
“We don’t have a private and clean kitchen, but at least we don’t have bombs,” one refugee told daily Hürriyet, adding that they were struggling to live in tents with a minimum of 10 people on average as the weather gets warmer.
Containers provided for seasonal workers are of high value to the refugees.
The children who speak a few words of Turkish say, “There is no ID, no school.”
According to the Turkish Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management’s recent statistics, there are a total of 2,969,669 registered Syrian migrants in Turkey, corresponding to 3.72 percent of the Turkish population of 79,814,871.
The directorate said a total of 124,481 Syrians are currently living in the border province of Kilis, which has a native population of just 130,825. Kilis is followed by the southern province of Hatay, with Syrians making up 24.69 percent of the native population. The number of registered Syrians in Hatay was announced as 384,024, while the total population of the province is 1,555,165.