For Mirvat, a 40 year-old Circassian woman from Syria, pleasant surroundings in Istanbul do not outweigh her sense of day to day humiliation:
"Here there is nothing. I want to have a dignified life. Here, it’s pretty yes. The weather is nice. Nature and tourism and all that. But this is not what I’m looking for. I want to live a dignified life. I don’t want to feel that I’m getting humiliated just to get a medication for my mother, or to pay the rent."
UNHCR figures show that Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees of any country worldwide (including 3.6m registered Syrian refugees). Despite praise from international onlookers (chiefly the EU and its representatives) for its legislative and policy reforms in support of refugees, recent reporting has documented Syrian refugees' fears that they are being manipulated by the Turkish state, within wider geopolitical manoeuvrings between Turkey and the EU. This supports earlier 2016 report by Amnesty International, which found that Turkey does not provide 'effective protection' to refugees and asylum seekers, who are thus let down by both Turkey and the EU countries.
This extract is from an interview conducted during the summer of 2016 as part of the Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat project, which was led by Vicki Squire: www.warwick.ac.uk/crossingthemed. Fuller stories from which these excerpts are taken can be explored here: www.crossing-the-med-map.warwick.ac.uk