Eviction of refugee camps in Turkey

A comrade in Turkey asked us to cross post this text. Its originally from nabermedya…and here it is:


As of February, 8th refugees living in the tents in Torbalı and Bayındır districts are getting evacuated in accordance with the district governorate decisions with the intervention of the gendarmerie and the tent areas are being removed. Thousands of refugees who left their countries because of the civil war in Syria have been struggling to survive as seasonal agricultural workers and living in the tent camps constructed with their own efforts in the rurals of İzmir.

Since wednesday many tent areas have been removed by gendarmerie without any reason. Some tent areas were given time till monday to evacuate the area. Refugees whose residence is not İzmir were told to be expelled and the others wouldn’t be let to stay in tents and they were supposed to rent homes. However for the majority of the refugees who work for very low wages it doesn’t seem possible to earn enough money to move into a house.

In return of showing tent areas and giving jobs “dayıbaşı” (the master of the area) deduct the refugees’ journals, don’t pay regularly or even never pay at all. Since these agricultural workers need to live close to their working areas and don’t know the language they are obliged to the dayıbaşı system. Thus these people getting evacuated from the tents means removing their resources of income.

Refugees who left everything they have in Syria can’t earn income for a long while since the demand for the seasonal workers decreases in winter. They can survive in cold weathers thanks to tents, food, firing, diapers and hygiene products provided by the limited number of volunteers and CSO’s. The tent areas lacking toilets, showers and clean water and getting covered with mud after every rain are being ignored by the authorities.

These conditions affect the children at the utmost. The children get exposed to illnesses and developmental disabilities as a result of poor nutrition and health conditions. Hospitals deny to treat the refugees without the documents. Even the death of the baby Noaf of pneumonia after getting refused from the hospital couldn’t make enough impact on the government’s policy on the refugees that made it hard for refugees to get registered. There are lots of children suffering from pneumonia in the camps. The threat of forced displacement by the gendarmerie just deepen the children’s trauma caused by the civil war and poor living conditions.

In the last May before the harvest, tent areas providing a space to live nearly two thousand people were removed by the district governorate. Now it is thought-provoking that the same incident happens before seed-time when the demand for seasonal workers increase. Yet it had been speculated for three years now that the district governorate and municipality had plans to move the tent areas to one center to improve the living conditions of agricultural worker refugees.