Turkish police asked more than 10 Syrian families living in Old Antakya, near the Long Bazaar and the main street of Habib an-Najjar, to evacuate their houses within days. The demand came in response to complaints submitted by Turkish residents in the neighborhood, who want all the Syrians in their poverty-stricken neighborhood to leave.
The Turkish residents have accused the Syrian residents of making noise and throwing the trash in front of their doors, as well as other more serious charges which cannot be confirmed.
Umm Sharif, 50, accused Syrian man Mustafa of "peeping at her from the window".
The elderly woman said she believed Mustafa, 30, was looking at her in an inappropriate way though his window, which means that he never approached her house (the one separated from his by a narrow alley) but that he looked at her while she was sitting in the street in front of her house.
While Syrians in the neighborhood admit that they make some noise sometimes, and that their children might throw some trash in the street, they still say that their Turkish neighbors do similar things and maybe more.
Umm Abdo told All4syria that "the alley between us and our neighbors remained blocked for four days when the neighbors wanted to rebuild a wall in their house and did the job themselves. They blocked the alley and the dust of their work filled all the surrounding houses… but nobody complained then".
Many Turkish residents, especially the elderly, believe that Syrians living in the Turkish cities are being funded by the government and that the government pays the rents of their houses and allocates monthly salaries for them. However this is not true at all.
Umm Jaber, a Syrian woman, said her Turkish neighbor "always says that we depend on them for our living and that their situation has deteriorated since we arrived, because everything we spend comes from Tayyip [meaning President Recep Tayiip Erdogan]".
"No one can convince her that my husband and three sons work to be able to pay the rent of our house and earn our living," she said.
According to reports from several areas, it seems that there have been verbal instructions to force Syrians to evacuate their houses if the Turkish residents in the neighborhood agree. A few complaints to the police are enough to make the police carry out the evacuation, even if the Syrian has paid the rent of several months in advance, as the police tend to leave the problem to be solved between the Syrian renters and the Turkish owners.
Syrians have no way to get the money back legally as there is a contract and a signed agreement, and the owner has not techincally evicted him from the house.
The treatment is completely different in other nearby neighborhoods, where many Turkish citizens have friendly relationships with their Syrian neighbors and try to help them.
Nevertheless, it will be difficult for Syrians, already exhausted financially, to become evicted from a house he has rented and has become used to, to begin the hard journey of looking for a new house, one which will probably be more expensive and which requires a new "commission" which is not less than one month's rent.
Tensions have risen in Turkish society towards the Syrians, especially in the border areas, such as Antakya, Killis and Reyhanli. The problem has another dimension: Syrian refugees who left their country to escape death will work for any payment, thus the Turkish businessmen would prefer to employ the Syrian who accepts 15-20 Turkish Liras per day instead of Turks, who won't accept less than 60 TL per day.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer