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Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

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Toronto, Canada
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Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

I'm going next week and I was wondering is there a refugee camp for displaced Syrians ?

Or and area where there might a few of them

?

The reason I ask is because I would like to donate some sadqa or give some zakat to these people who are in desperate need.

If you also have any tips please share.

148 replies to this topic
Istanbul
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1. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

Afshaikh, No there are no refugee camps in or around Istanbul. The only refugee camps are at the Syrian border at the Southeastern Turkey. In our trip from to Mardin, we saw a refugee camp in the distance close to Midyat.

enigma...

Mount Dora, Florida
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2. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

It is estimated that there are 800,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. There are 200,000 in refugee camps, and it is believed that there are 600,000 refugees in Istanbul. For the first time in all of my visits, I have been actively solicited to donate money to individual people and families on the street. At first I did not understand because they speak Arabic and hold a small book. Eventually I figured out that the little book is a Syrian Passport. They also do not seem to dress is the same fashion as the average citizen in Istanbul.

I feel so terribly sorry for these poor people. I have been giving them 10TL to 20TL. I do not know if this is a good policy. Normally I do not give money to people who are begging because I think there is an adequate safety net and beggars usually want money for things they may not really need such as alcohol. I do not know if there is any safety net for Syrian refugees in Istanbul.

Maybe Enigma, Borus, Alper or any forum member who lives in Turkey could advise us on what type of assistance we can offer to the Syrian refugees living in Istanbul. I am seeing them everywhere, and I really would like to provide some meaningful help.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

BR, I've been doing the same as you, the children break my heart. And I was wondering what was in place to assist them as well. From what I've picked up on, it seems like the Turkish people aren't happy to have them here in Istanbul. My tour guide kept apologizing about them.

Chicago
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4. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

I cannot imagine what it must be like having to beg to eat or feed your children, living in a foreign country, when you used to have a home, plenty of food, earned a living, had family/neighbors surrounding you. And today you have to beg on the streets.

I apologize. The truth is, I don't have the first clue what it's like for anyone. No doubt it's hard on the locals, businesses, even visitors/travelers - without a quick fix to this situation. Like the OP & others have posted, any small kindness can make a difference.

Edited: 29 November 2013, 22:27
Istanbul
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5. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

I am involved with an informal organisation supporting Syrian refugees on the streets on Istanbul (also many of them are living in substandard accommodation).

We collect clothes, baby things like nappies/bottles and food, and we go and hand it out. We're also connecting with some official charities and homes.

I went with a group of people earlier this month to give out donations. It really broke my heart. I took a baby from one woman so she could look through the clothes. The baby was wet, needed changing, had a dirty face and seemed malnutritioned. As a relatively wealthy Westerner, I've never really confronted poverty up close and am trying to do what I can to help these people.

Edited: 30 November 2013, 01:38
San Francisco...
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6. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

Kachika, is it something that I or others in the forum could get involved with? I'd be willing to spend a day volunteering this weekend even.

Istanbul
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7. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

Send me a private message please. There is a facebook group where we coordinate. Actually we will almost certainly need some volunteers nest week.

There is an amazing young woman from the UK who has been fundraising for this cause. Tomorrow she will arrive in Istanbul with 14 suitcases full of donations, as well as cash. We will be working with her to organise the contributions.

The last time I went out to do this I bought lots and lots of bananas and little cakes and together, we made care bags with food items, soap, wet wipes, women's sanitary products, etc. We handed one bag to each family we saw.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

Kachika, just messaged you! Cannot wait to help.

Istanbul
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9. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

Thank you to those who have messaged me asking how they can help. I've just seen the messages and am off to a wedding today so will reply later when I come home. I am meeting a group tomorrow regarding our project and will have more information then. It's lovely to see how many people want to help.

Casablanca, Morocco
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10. Re: Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

Turkish people are not happy at all about having syrians begging in the streets. I saw them treating them like if they were less than animals. It was so appalling and unusual for a population that is know for its warm welcoming. It was so sad to see entire families, barefeet, wandering in the streets, sitting by the sidewalk because they are tired of walking, holding their frightened and fragile children.

One afternoon, i was sitting in a coffee shop, which i can't remember it's name, that is next to Hafiz Mustafa in Sirkeci. A syrian family with small children came by the window where they were selling ice cream and wanted to buy some for the kids ( they weren't asking for it for free) but the owner kept shouting at them and talking rudely with them, asking them to leave the place because he didn't want them to be around his customers. He kept pushing them like if they were less than dogs . It was so sad and revolting to watch. I was frustrated cause i couldn't do anything to defend them as everybody else was just distressed. I couldn't finish what i was eating so i left, and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening of my last day in istanbul all shaken.

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