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Life as a refugee in Turkey
  • “We haven’t been able to pay our rent for the last two months. At times we have no milk or nappies. But my in-laws still wish they could also come to Turkey, since the conditions are so challenging for them in Syria.” —Zülafa Muhammed, 21, Istanbul

  • “My husband has a Turkish friend in Istanbul. He welcomed us in his house with our five children, then paid for us to get started in our own place. I can’t really find the words to express our gratitude for what he has done.” —Necah Muhammed, 40, Bursa

  • “In Turkey I have a different perspective on the world. I have gained self-confidence. In Syria I had never got on a bus. Now I can walk on the street, get on the bus alone and go to the promenade to enjoy the view of the sea.” —Cihan İsa, 29, Bursa

  • “I feel sorry for both sides when I hear negative media coverage about Syrians. The people I have so far met have treated me well, always showing great respect.” —Eman Hagabdalh, 61, Eskişehir

  • “My neighbour in Istanbul taught me Turkish; now I can do my own shopping in the weekly market. My three sons are at home; they can find no jobs. Only one of them is working, caring for six people.” —Maisswn Hamdan, 45, Bursa

  • “Our Turkish neighbours are nicer than my mother-in-law, who beat me and my children. But when the children make some noise, the neighbours complain to the real-estate broker. I don’t know why they don’t just talk to us instead.” —Esma Habeş, 42, Istanbul

  • “We are living here as if we were half-dead. Our house is cold, my husband has no job, sometimes we have nothing to eat, my children get frequently ill. But how can one return to a country beset by war? Only in a shroud.” —Ravze Al Muhimid, 33, Eskişehir

  • “I was working in a textile mill. Boys tried to harass me because I am Syrian. It was hard; in the end I became ill, and I had to leave my job.” —Büşra Muhammed Er, 22, Istanbul

  • “We fled the war, and we do not want to return. In Syria women stay at home; here we go out and take care of everything. It is good, but it is tedious, because there is a lot to do at home as well.” —Ravdah Alnushoukati, 41, Bursa

  • “After a bomb fell onto our house, we fled to a village on the Turkish side of the border. They gave us clothes, and treated us well. A Turk also helped us get a surgery for daughter. Thank God there are still such people.” —Mizgin Muhammed, 31, Istanbul