Illegal Syrian refugees anxious

Illegal Syrian refugees anxious

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Illegal Syrian refugees anxious

Syrian refugee children sit in front of their makeshift tent in the town of Viransehir in Sanliurfa province, southeast Turkey, February 10, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The majority of Syrian refugees in Turkey are accommodated in refugee camps, but those who have entered illegally are dispersed across the country, sometimes living in desperate conditions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said last week that the number of Syrian refugees in the country had reached 182,000, however the number of unregistered refugees is not known. Those who are lucky have found jobs and are able to send some of the money they earn back to the families they have left in Syria. Their biggest nightmare is that their workplace will be discovered and that they will lose their jobs. However, it seems that their fears will come to an end soon, with the Labor Ministry currently preparing to issue work permits for Syrian citizens who have already been given residence permits.

Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Sahin confirmed last month that work was about to be completed with regard to work permits for Syrian refugees.

Two unregistered refugees who entered Turkey from Syria illegally and who earn a living under tough circumstances spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News under condition of anonymity.

25-year-old B.U. said he had come to Turkey one and a half years ago. “When I came to Turkey, incidents in Syria had yet to reach this stage. I crossed the border as a tourist. I am working at a jewelry workshop without any social security. I earn 200 Turkish Liras a week, and I need to send money to my family back in Syria. We rent an apartment with other refugees; 10 of us are staying there in total. We share the costs,” he said.

K.H., a 50-year-old watch repairman, plans to return to Syria even if the Turkish government grants working permits. “If incidents and clashes don’t come to an end in Syria, I plan to settle in a third country,” he said, adding that he had no complaints about his work, his workplace or his income in Turkey.

“I was a watch repairman in Syria. When compared to my own country, I think people in Turkey earn what they deserve,” he said.