“Hep öleceğim, bir daha çocuklarımı göremeyeceğim sanıyordum” – Suriyeli kadınların hikayeleri Seri 3

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Together with the journalist İpek İzci and the photographer Selçuk Şamiloğlu (Istanbul & Eskişehir), Recai Güler (Bursa), we visited UNFPA Turkey’s European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) funded Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) in Istanbul, Bursa and Eskişehir to talk to the Syrian women to hear their experiences. These stories were published on Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet on 10 March 2019. This is the third series of the collected stories.

amar Ghchem, 23 – BURSA

“I am feeling psychologically relieved after the UN centre was opened.” – Kamar Ghchem, 23 – BURSA

It was my birthday a few days ago. I have turned 23 years of age. I made a wish to see my family. My parents and my siblings are in Syria. Here I am all alone. I would like to work; I can work in a coiffeur shop. Some days the physicians are good, some other day very bad… Because I speak poor Turkish, they shout at me. After the opening of the UN Women’s Health Counselling Centre, I am now feeling psychologically relieved.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Ravdah Alnushoukati, 41 – BURSA

“We fled the war; we don’t want to return.” – Ravdah Alnushoukati, 41 – BURSA

A rumour is round in Bursa that young Syrians would be sent to Idlib, but we fled the war, and we do not want to return. In Syria women stay at home, and they receive everything they want sent home. Here we go out and take care of everything, willy-nilly. It is good that Turkish women are present in the labour market, but it is tedious, because there is a lot to do at home as well.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Şima Hüseyin, 26- İSTANBUL

“Previously we were happy, now it is virtually a nil.” – Şima Hüseyin, 26- İSTANBUL

We came from Kamışlı six years ago. My brother lost both of his legs in the war. Hearing it, my mother had a stroke; now she cannot speak, cannot move her hands and open her fists. Am I happy that we are here? Practically nil. I speak with my mother to make her feel good, but I feel that she does not understand me. I have solely one friend, a Turkish national of Kurdish origin. I feel a great affection for her. She cares much about me. I go to the park with her. Previously we were happy, now it is virtually a nil. My brother tried to use prosthesis, but he had no success. If we can go to Germany, my brother can perhaps be treated there. Can you help us?

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Wadha Y., 50 – İSTANBUL

“People say “Why did you take your sons out of the country? They should fight here’’” – Wadha Y., 50 – İSTANBUL

We came from Kobani five years ago. I can’t speak Turkish. Out of home I wave my neighbours and greet them. It is very humid in the house we dwell in, it is in bad condition. My husband has mental problems. Sometimes he goes out to hold some cigarettes. People ridicule him, laughing at him. I have been to no other place other than Fatih. I cannot go out due to the condition of my husband. I have lost all my desire to undertake something. The Kurds who remained in Syria say, ‘’Why did you take your sons out of the country? –They should fight here’’, because their children are active there in the fight. I simply don’t care what they say.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Feride İbrahim, 46 – BURSA

“We don’t watch news at Syrian TV channels” – Feride İbrahim, 46 – BURSA

We have been in Bursa for five years now. We are not accustomed to seek help, to take provisions from other people. When we came here, people helped us, but we felt sad and bitter about it. Turks gave us pieces of furniture; the armchairs, for example, were given by Turks. Hearing that we are refugees, they brought household goods. Two associations gave provisions. People did not want to rent us their houses because we are Syrians. Some Syrians have allegedly not paid utility bills and rental fee when moving out; that is the reason. I pleaded my landlord several times. Sometimes when he goes out, he gives me the key; he trusts us. It is very expensive here. We are turning off the natural gas. (Hearing this, we controlled the radiator; it was on. ‘’Have you turned it on for us, we asked. She looked at us, in silence. We asked her to turn it off). Now at home we are rolling cigarettes to sell. Some days we are talking of our house in Syria, shedding tears of sorrow. If we return, we start from scratch, we can build a house. Goods can be bought again, but a human life lost never returns. We saw people dying before us. My six children fled to Germany, seeking refuge there. We never watch the news at Syrian channels; we are only watching TV series, because we know that the news is not true.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Hanan Hamdan, 40 – BURSA

“Would you have paid my rental fee, if you had a magic wand?” – Hanan Hamdan, 40 – BURSA

We came here from Damascus. My son, Abdülaziz, was born here; he is three years old now. He says, ‘’Kanka’’ (blood brother in Turkish). The Red Crescent does not help us, because there are three adults in our household. Would you have paid my rental fee, if you had a magic wand? Half of it would be also all right. It is 850 Lira, the rental fee; it is very expensive. Our landlord gives us a ring on the first of the month, even at any minor delay in payment. He says, ‘’Your economic condition is good’’. But when we have guests, we offer our food to them, sharing with them what we have. The armchairs were given by our Turkish neighbours. But all the same, people who visit us say, ‘’You are rich; you economic condition is good’’. The Red Crescent is also of similar opinion. They only help people who dwell in a house in a basement floor and have no furniture.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

 

Mizgin Muhammed, 31 – İSTANBUL

“Here I want to tell you everything.” – Mizgin Muhammed, 31 – İSTANBUL

One evening a bomb fell into our house, and we fled to a village at the Turkish side of the frontier. There they gave us clothes, treating us well. From there we came to İstanbul. Here I want to tell you everything. Our previous house was in a basement floor, with the landlord dwelling in the first floor, directly above us. The drain from their bathroom was leaking to ours. We asked them to remedy the problem, but they did not do it. Then we said, ‘’We can get it done and deduct it from the rental fee’’, but they did not agree to it as well. Then we moved out of that house. I have three children of ages 12, 14 and 15. The youngest one feels himself like a Turk. My oldest daughter had an accident when she was nine years old. She could not stand flat on the ground. A Turk helped us for her surgical intervention. Thanks to God that there are still such people.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Fatma Haydar, 19 – İSTANBUL

“You are caring for us; thank you very much” – Fatma Haydar, 19 – İSTANBUL

We thank God that we are here. My mother is now in Germany, but the day she was here three years ago was the happiest day in all my life. Now you have come here for us. You are listening to us, asking us how we are. Thank you very much.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

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“We do not celebrate birthdays in Turkey.” – Haifa Jasim, 22 – ESKİŞEHİR

My family is in Aleppo, and I have been here for five years now. The first change I desired in my life was to be alone together with my husband. I am now pregnant in the four month. Our most urgent need is food and clothes. We do not celebrate birthdays in Turkey. With my family away from me in Syria, how can I celebrate it? 8 March? I wish murder and violence against women in Turkey had been eliminated. Women should not be murdered; everybody should understand that women also have rights.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler

Samah Abo Habra, 41 – ESKİŞEHİR

“I always believed that I would die and never see my children again” – Samah Abo Habra, 41 – ESKİŞEHİR

We were obliged to come here because of those in power in Syria. When we were in Syria, my husband sold furniture, carpets and wood. They confiscated his business. In my eyes Turkish people are very good. People embraced us when we came here. In fact, I felt it even though I have had no intense relations with people. We thank Turkish people that they have embraced us, holding us always in esteem.

Published on Hürriyet Pazar, 10 March 2019, Sunday Supplement of Daily Hürriyet / By İpek İzci – Photographs by Selçuk Şamiloğlu & Recai Güler