Godspeed To A Mighty Balloon

Emirgan Park, Sariyer

Istanbul’s highways are lined with Syrian refugees.

Your first evening in Turkey is spent with an international politics student. Along İstiklâl Caddesi, distinctly Arab-looking families huddle in the chill while their children play in the gutter. You ask her where they came from.

« Syria. » She says, pronouncing it Sye-Riya.

You probe her for details: « Is the government doing anything to help them? Why did they choose to come here and how did they cope during the winter? »

« Most of them were… » she pauses, trying to remember the English translation of the word. « Scammed? Is that the correct word? They were brought here illegally by people who took their money and passports and then left them on the street. »

« What do ordinary people think about them being here? »

« They don’t, really. This is the restaurant I was talking about. Will it be okay? »

You had been looking…

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