Nuray Pehlivan / DUVARWe're left to die, refugees in Istanbul say amid increasing coronavirus cases
Turkey's coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the already difficult conditions for the country's refugees, many of whom are facing starvation and homelessness as a result. In response, Izmir's City Council Refugee Committee has launched a rental support program for refugees in need.
According to City Council Refugee Committee Chair Mete Hüsünbeyi, hundreds of thousands of refugees have lost their jobs as businesses have closed amid the epidemic.
Meanwhile, regulations prohibiting those under 20 from leaving their homes have resulted in some families facing hunger as they depended on their children's income to survive.
The Aegean coastal city of Izmir is Turkey's third largest city and has a high population of refugees.
“In Turkey, those 20 and under who show work documents can go to their jobs but refugees can't, because their bosses put them to work without insurance and thus they lack these documents. Refugee workers who have worked uninsured in Turkey for nine years are also unable to benefit from unemployment funds,” Hüsünbeyi said.
Hüsenbeyi added that many refugees are on the verge of being evicted from their apartments due to being unable to pay rent. He urged landlords to suspend rental payments, adding that no one should be thrown out of their homes.
“During the epidemic, we have seen that refugees have been virtually disregarded,” Hüsünbeyi said.
Referring to the rental support campaign launched by Izmir's City Council, Hüsünbeyi said that people can donate up to 600 TL to help those in need pay their rent, and that there is no minimum donation.
“We invite all of those who are sensitive to this issue to provide support without being concerned about the amount,” Hüsünbeyi said.
Those interested in contributing to the rental campaign can contact firstname.lastname@example.orgTurkish authorities transport refugees to northwestern coast, encourage them to cross into Greece