Thursday, June 1, 2023

Afghan migrants Trauma in Turkey

Immigration News

Razuddin Barlas
Razuddin Barlas
Razuddin Barlas is a student of the master's program in journalism faculty at the Erciyes University of Turkey.

With the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the tumultuous withdrawal of the NATO and American troops, thousands of people from Afghanistan started to flee to Turkey in August 2021. Among those migrants, there were former government senior officials, parliament members, politicians, civil society & women rights activists, journalists, singers, and many more. Those Afghan nationals were in a panic as they thought the Islamist hardliner Taliban would take vindictive revenge on them, impose harsh rules and curtail human rights as they did earlier in 1996.

The Taliban and the New Wave of Afghan Migration to Turkey

A fresh wave of legal and illegal Afghan migration to Turkey has begun since the Taliban recaptured power from the Western-backed government in mid-August last year. Most of them, who have migrated legally or illegally to Turkey, are desperately looking for shelters to survive. Afghan migrants are suffering from a plethora of livelihood challenges. Even in Turkey, Afghans are passing days with insecurity and uncertainty.

“August 15, 2021, was a dark day for the people of Afghanistan, including me, who didn’t have any other choice other than leaving their country,” said Farzana Adell (38), Former Chief of Staff at Senior Advisory to the President of Afghanistan on UN Affairs.  “As President Ashraf Ghani fled, the Afghan government was disturbed and all the important infrastructures of the country made in past years are collapsed,” she added.

The worsening situation in Afghanistan forced her to leave her country. A women’s rights activist Farzana Adell, is now living in  Istanbul, the capital of Turkey.

“Since the Taliban captured the incumbency; threats against government employees, civil society & women’s rights activists have increased. Women, who make up half of Afghanistan’s population, are left behind completely, Adell further said.

Since 2015, the world’s largest migration crisis has fallen out after the Second World War, according to the international migration agencies. Turkey has been the largest host country in the region for hosting Afghan refugees. Farzana, who is also the founder of Gender Equality Research Organization in Afghanistan, said, “Like other immigrants in Turkey, I am living with an uncertain future, and spending every moment of my life in immigration time is a gradual death for an immigrant.”

“I fled when the Taliban forces seized capital Kabul. Otherwise, they would have killed me, because I am a young singer and I sang for my countrymen” said 18-year-old Rohullah Rozegar said, who fled to  Kayseri, a town in Turkey from Afghanistan.

In Taliban’s Afghanistan, singing as well as listening to music is strictly prohibited. According to the Taliban, music is against the rules of Islam.

Other music connoisseur Rohullah has learned to play Dambora at the Aga Khan Cultural Foundation, a non-governmental foundation working to improve Afghan traditional music.  Rohullah was in the clutches of human trafficking gangs when coming to Turkey from Afghanistan.  

Before the Taliban take over, Afghans used to listen as well as enjoy music even in public places. Singers performed music in popular circles; But at present, there is not a clear picture of the future of Afghan music under their rule.

In Turkey, Migrated Afghans in Troubles

Despite reaching Turkey, the migrants from Afghans are facing a slew of challenges. Non-distribution of ID cards to the new migrants, rejection of asylum application by the Turkish Immigration Service and inactivation of health insurance are among the major problems the Afghan migrants are facing in Turkey.

“Afghans, who are entering Turkey alone from Afghanistan are usually not registered to the Turkish government. Some of these migrants are detained by the Turkish security forces and deported to Afghanistan, many of them live in Turkey without an ID card. In the absence of an ID card, they can’t avail public medical services.” said Rohullah, who is waiting now to receive the immigration ID card issued by the Turkish authority.

As per the rules of the Turkish Immigration Service – the person whose application has already been rejected will not have access to the government services, including treatment and education.  This is to remember that President Erdogan repeatedly said in the past  that “Turkey is not going to be a warehouse of European immigrants.

“International Migration Organizations and the United Nations in Turkey have neither paid much attention to the situation of Afghan refugees and nor provided any humanitarian assistance or support to the  Afghan displaced persons,” Farzana remarked.

She added that the Afghans, who recently fled and are currently struggling to survive in Turkey, are frustrated with their lives and future.

“We have no way back to Afghanistan and no place to live in a country that it is even worse than Taliban torture. The Taliban monitored the employees of the former government. The bank accounts of government and non-government employees in Afghanistan’s private banks were filtered. Right now they are not allowed to receive their money from the bank. We are facing severe financial problems now. It is the problem that makes us upset,” she said further.

Farzana thinks that international migration must establish a specific channel for solving the economic and health problems the new Afghan refugees are facing. So that the needy people can apply directly and quickly sort that out.

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  1. Thanks for the effort made on writing this article dear Razuddin. But you have forgot to mention the cruelty and torture of the Turkish border police applied on the refugees including women on the Turkish-Iranian borders, and also you haven’t mentioned how bad the Afghan migrants/refugees are being treated by the Turkish nationalists as well as some government authorities. For example you haven’t written anything about a violent anti-migrant group called “Ataman Kardeşliği”; you didn’t mention how the police and Turkish gangs are looting Afghan refugees residences in major cities of Turkey. When writing about a subject, all aspects and facts should be included. If you are scared of facing a problem because of writing the facts, then better not to write anything at all.
    Btw, Istanbul is not the capital city of Turkey; Ankara is. And there are slight English grammar mistakes in your article, please correct them as well.
    Best regards.


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