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Ogulcan Arslan, Unsafe Haven

‘Unsafe Haven’ is about the Afghan migrants in Istanbul. Fleeing from their torned apart homeland with the hope of gaining refugee status in Turkey, these men have been living in limbo for years: no jobs, no residence status, no path to citizenship, no response from the UN. Unlike the 2.5m Syrians here, 91,000 Afghan asylum-seekers have no access to the Turkey’s refugee camps and no right to work. Most of them collect waste for a living while the rest beg to pay rent. The ones I encountered asked over and over again: “How long can we wait?”
They are vulnerable, tired, and yearning for a warm welcome. Their eyes still sparkle when they talk about their dreams. Though they know better now not to trust smugglers promising them safe passage, even the slightest thought of having a ‘normal’ life puts a faint smile on their face. So they keep standing still, waiting for a change, and hoping Turkey is not their dead end.

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