A Syrian family has just crossed the border that separates Syria from Turkey. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) Syrian teenagers play on the beach near Soli district. Syrians and Turks live separately in Mersin, which is one of the biggest Syrian populated cities in Turkey. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL)
For the past four years, photographer Emin Ozmen has been documenting the plight of Syrian refugees living in Turkey. According to the United Nations refugee agency, there are more than 2,8 million registered Syrian refugees in Turkey. And more than half of them are children.
As Ozmen has documented this situation, he has been a witness to a great deal of suffering, watching people try to piece their shattered lives back together, despite years of violence and trauma. Their whole lives have to be redone as they face one fundamental question: How to survive? They now have to find jobs and places to live, forcing many of them to work 12-hour days, six days a week. School for the children? Many times that has to wait, as even they have to contribute to the rebuilding of their families’ lives.
On top of those struggles, many Turkish people view Syrian refugees with suspicion and anger that they are undercutting their jobs with cheap labor. One Turkish worker told Ozmen, “This country started to rise. Then the refugees arrived. It would be better without them. I am a Muslim, they are my religion’s brothers, but we can no longer pay for them.”
While life for Syrian refugees in Turkey can be hard, these pictures show how they are getting along, despite all the odds against them.
A Syrian Kurdish woman has just crossed the border separating Syria from Turkey. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) Kurdish Syrians wait In a car near the border of Syria to check on their families who have remained in Kobane. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A Syrian refugee from Aleppo drinks coffee on the street in Basmane district in Izmır. Basmane is one of the biggest neighborhoods in Izmir where mostly Syrian refugees live. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) Refugees being checked by voluntary ophthalmologists in Basmane district in Izmir, Turkey. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A Syrian refugee smokes sisha under an umbrella. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A Syrian Kurdish girl plays in a school where she moved with her family after fleeing the clashes in Kobani. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A Syrian refugee sells popcorn on the Soli beach in Mersin. Mersin is one of the biggest Syrian populated cities in Turkey. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) Syrian refugees having Turkish and Arabic lessons from voluntary Syrian teachers in unofficial schoolhouse in Gaziantep, Turkey, (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A woman stands on a carpet on her roof where mostly Syrian refugees lives in Gaziantep, Turkey, (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) Mohamed, 11, lives in Kilis with his uncle. Mohamed works with his twin brother in a bakery, 14 hours a day for 30 euros per month. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A street view in Inonu district. Gaziantep is one of the cities with the biggest Syrian populations. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A Syrian refugee looks out of a car in a seasonal workers camp in Adana, Turkey. (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL) A Syrian refugee tries to keep warm near Turkish Syrian border town Sanliurfa , (EMIN OZMEN/ LEJOURNAL)
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