During our visit to the camp in the town of “Reformatory” in southern Turkey, we spoke with “Um Abdul Hakim” in a tent with a dirt floor and worn cloth roof. She expressed her belief that the Turkish president gives houses to Turks but asked, “who can see us?” Um Abdul Hakim spoke with calculated words and tears in her eyes, fearing that her words might betray her and lead to further oppression.
As we arrived at the camp inside a football field, several Syrian men and women rushed to ask us with fear: “Are we going to be kicked out of our tent again? ”
The camp, consisting of over 600 tents, now has new numbers, according to “Abu Ismail,” a Syrian resident who whispered to us. He revealed that the tents had been numbered with an additional number, with Turkish tents numbered as 1 and Syrian tents numbered 2, in addition to the number written on the back of the tent.
Abu Ismail took us to the food distribution area, where he pointed out two tables in front of a small one-story building. One table was labelled “1” for the Turkish queue, while the other was labelled “2” for the Syrian queue. Volunteers explained that this method was implemented to prevent friction and problems. Still, we couldn’t help but notice the disparities between the aid and food provided to the Turkish and Syrian residents.
Hamid Bakkar, a resident of a tent established by the Turkish Disaster Administration (AFAD) in the exhibition park or Masal Park in central Gaziantep, shared with us that they try not to speak Arabic. When they must, they avoid raising their voices to avoid being identified as Syrians.
Anas recounted his story to us, saying that he and more than 15 people, mostly women and children, slept in a small cargo car since the first night of the earthquake. Their houses were cracked, and they could not return to them the old city near the Gaziantep castle. Anas explained that they try to avoid contact with the Turks as they fear for their safety. He also shared that the previous night, a group of young Turkish men brutally beat a Syrian young man in front of his two daughters and his wife, and no one intervened. It was a horrific and violent night.
While standing in front of the empty tent, their Syrian-Turkmen neighbour shared more details about the incident and expressed that what happened was completely wrong. The attackers showed no mercy and beat the Syrian man brutally.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.