Were it not due to the miserable life they live, thousands of Syrian refugees wouldn’t have taken the risk to Europe despite the borders closure.
The hardships of their lives, and their ambitions to live higher-standards lives, are both important factors and strong motivation that led many refugees in Turkey –nearly 4 million refugees- during the past few years to spend money and even lives just to reach an EU state (particularly a western EU state.)
Running from the brutality of the Syrian regime who rules the country with iron and fire, and who sold the country to its Russian and Iranian allies, those people tried to flee all kinds of death and torture. Even more, the regime is attempting to make a demographic and a societal change, based on sectarian divisions, which was the main motive for the people to call for fundamental change in the regime.
In Turkey, however, the scene is different. Many Syrian refugees there, hope that Turkey will only be a temporary station in their journey to Europe, the continent which lacks the young capital, the group which plays a crucial role in sustaining Europe’s superiority and welfare; which in turn is fulfilled with young migrants who – prior to their departure- think that this journey will shift their life to a higher living standards. The geographical location of Turkey has made it a central crossing point for both Asian and African migrants to eastern Europe, which have been highlighted repeatedly by Turkish officials, emphasizing that turkey will not become a transit country for migrants. However, Syrian refugees have a different story.
With all the pain, suffer, writhing children and women, and the extreme poverty. In addition to the smell of death everywhere, and the severe besiege. These extreme circumstances in which most Syrians were living, have pushed them instinctively to flee the brutality of the regime. Undoubtedly, a person in such position will only think about escape, with no prior plans or differentiation. The only concern in that moment is to survive from the death that harvest everything else; and from Bashar Al Assad, who has destroyed lands, seized properties, imprisoned men and burned the whole country just for his throne.
Due to the geography of the region and the long borders between Turkey and Syria, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled to Turkey. Some of them headed directly to Europe, whereas the others preferred to stay, considering it as a temporary period after which there will be a definite return to homeland. Many factors had facilitated that movement, such as the similarities in social norms, religion, and some governmental facilitation at that time. The presence of a large portion of the Syrian community there, have eased the difficulty of exile, furthermore, the strong Turkish economy back then had its own influence as well.
Plans had changed, and more exiled Syrians were convinced that the journey is longer than expected and the awaited return seemed to be much more distant and unreachable, and that it may take years before it becomes a reality, in light of the international disappointment, which had only provided Syrians with empty words, with no tangible measures like the establishment of safe zones for displaced people, deterrent forces against the oppression of Assad and the Iranian militias, or even an air ban zone to stop the Russian and Assad attacks.
The major problem for most Syrians in Turkey is the instability. The anxious situation have increased the suffering of many, whether they will be granted refuge or not, what are their rights, how their future and the future of their children will look like, additionally, the internal political tensions in Turkey which made Syrians as a trade card, each party is trying to use according to its pure interest by provoking the Syrian crisis, their presence and so on. All that have increased the psychological damage and the uncertainty. This has led to renewing the hope -for some people- of countries that might provide them with rights, better work opportunities, better accommodation and better wages. It could be an explanation for refusing what some have called the cycle life of work and sleep in Turkey, where the economy is still developing and vulnerable and can be affected if any political, social, or international happening occur. The Turkish economy didn’t complete the transition terms toward a more stabilized economy, even though it is part of the top 20 economies.
Masses of immigrants have moved towards European states, which closed their doors refusing to use refugees as a Turkish political trade card against Europe, in the light of Ankara and Moscow conflict. Additionally, the social dimension in the EU states is a factor that we can’t ignore, moreover, the refugee crisis has led to the rise of populist and right streams, in a way that threatens the gains of the European Union within the past decades, not to forget the European dispute caused by the rise of such streams, and which led some countries to leave the EU bloc itself, and UK is an evidence.
By looking to the scene intersections, we see that the Syrian refugee is the biggest looser, who stayed without homeland, without clear future, and without knowing what’s next..