migrants living in Turkey in 2015
Over the last fifteen years, Turkey has been a key entry point for migrants trying to reach Europe. Arriving mainly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran or Africa, they transit through Istanbul in their thousands. In 2015, there were an estimated 5 million migrants living in Turkey, including 2,300,000 Syrians. But it is a life of insecurity and economic and social vulnerability, without freedom of movement or rights.
There are an estimated 5 million migrants living in Turkey.
These foreigners - whether asylum-seekers, refugees or undocumented migrants – only have access to public health centres if they are able to show a passport and pay for their consultations. As a result, many of them don’t seek health care or wait until the situation becomes critical enough for emergency treatment at the hospital - theoretically free of charge.
What we do
In partnership with the Association of Solidarity and Mutual Assistance to Migrants (ASEM), a social and medical support centre has been set up in the heart of the Istanbul’s Kumkapi neighbourhood. This centre offers a sort of “safe haven” for migrants. They find a welcome here, people to listen to them (3 members of the team are themselves migrants), immediate medical care - possibly including referral and someone to accompany them to a hospital, as well as information on their rights. Awareness-raising sessions are organised on subjects such as Ebola, ISTs AIDS, tuberculosis and people smuggling and trafficking, and there are days reserved for specific groups, such as women. Since 2015, this type of action has been extended to other towns in Turkey (Konya, Eskisehir).
Since 2012, Doctors of the World has also been helping ASEM to make funding applications and collect data to develop its advocacy activity and a local and transnational network of partners. We also publically denounce the lack of access for migrants to health care in Turkey.
Did you know?
Because of its geographic and economic situation, Istanbul has a large population of foreigners living in situations of vulnerability. They may live here, more or less legally, for months and sometimes years.
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