Translated from Yeniyaşam Newsletter
Syrian refugees living in Mersin in Turkey stated that they work for eight hours in the fields each day to earn 56 Turkish lira. Some employers pay them even less.
Syrian refugees struggle to live in Akdeniz district, which is one of the important areas for agricultural work in Mersin. According to Ömer Akın from Mezopotamya News, refugees work in the fields for a daily wage of 56 Turkish lira. Refugees try to partly meet their needs by also using illegal wires to tap into the electricity network.
”Life was good before the war”
Raken Ali (35), said that he has been living in this desperate manner for six years. With the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, he travelled from Raqqa to Turkey. With a family of nine, they have experienced difficult living conditions. Ali said: “Our home, Syria, has also been experiencing very difficult conditions for nine years due to the war. We lost our house and access to water. We came to Turkey for safety, but life here is too hard with few job prospects. We often cannot find work”, he said. Referring to the fact that life was very good for his family in Syria before the war, Ali lives in the hope that they can return to Syria once the war ends.
“Life here is very difficult”
Ali Muhammed (20) stated that they are trying to survive on his daily wages in the field. He works eight hours a day for 56 Turkish lira. He stated: “Our tent fills with water in the rain in winter. Everywhere, we are covered in mud due to the rain. Life here is very difficult. There are electricity and water but we cannot work in the fields every day during winter. We can’t find a job. We earn 56 Turkish lira per day, some employers pay much less. And we get work for 15-20 days in a month. We have to travel far to get health treatment. When our children get sick, we have to travel all the way to Tarsus. We cannot be protected from the pandemic”.
55-year-old Salih Hidir (55) highlighted how they live on the margins: “If we work, we live, but if we don’t work, we die. We are underwater every time it rains. We have no place to go. We are suffering here. I had a stroke and we are five in the family, but just one person can find work”.