Chechen Refugees Fighting Tuberculosis in Istanbul
According to the Turkish daily newspaper Sabah, nearly 1,500 Chechen asylum seekers who live in non-official camps in Turkey are under the threat of tuberculosis. Two of them have already died from the disease.
This shocking reality became public after a visit from European Parliament deputies Helene Flautre, a French politician, and Franziska Maria Keller, a German politician, to non-official Chechen refugee camps in Istanbul, Turkey last week. Ufuk Uras, a member of the Turkish Parliament from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), accompanied the European delegation to the Umraniye camp, one of the non-official Chechen refugee camps in Istanbul.
The quiet and unobtrusive visit of the delegation showed the difficult living conditions of the asylum seekers.
“I would not know that such a place exists under our noses. The babies and children are under the threat of tuberculosis because of unhealthy living conditions,” said Mr. Uras.
The main problem of Chechen asylum seekers in Turkey is that they do not have official refugee status. Ufuk Uras drew attention to the issue and demanded that the Turkish government find a humanitarian solution. “This is not a subject that may affect Turkey’s political relations, but these people do not have any status. We call them guests but can anyone be described as a guest after ten years of residency?” asked Mr. Uras.
Some of the striking evaluations from the Umraniye refugee camp where a group of Chechen asylum seekers live:
-They live under a mosque where it is very humid.
-Crowded families have to live in a room together.
-Unemployment and poverty
-They cannot go to the hospitals.
-They do not have working permits, so they try to live off of donations from charitable people.
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco