Segments in this Video

Introduction: Next Stop Istanbul: The Refugee Crisis (01:58)


What drives a person to cross the Mediterranean in a flimsy boat? Refugees fleeing the unrest and upheaval in the Middle East arrive at a regional crossroads.

Shelter in the Region (04:27)

Refugees Mahmud and Ahmad tell of how they fled the Syrian civil war and came to Turkey. Mahmud talks about his job at a clothing store.

Teaching Young Refugees (04:06)

Selma Akdag speaks about her route coming to Turkey and the problems of getting by in a culture when you do not speak the language. Akdag works with a charity that supports refugees and provides education for young refugees.

Providing for Refugees (03:35)

Akdag negotiates with sellers to buy appliances for a newly arrived family. Akdag talks about the struggles facing refugee families. Ghawla speaks about losing her husband in Syria and fleeing to Turkey to protect her children.

A Refugee Life (03:17)

Fatima speaks about how little help is available to refugees. Her children Yara and Jowan must work to help pay the rent for their small home. Fatima wonders where the aid funds for Syrians go, since her family has received no help.

Working for His Family (02:33)

13 year old Jowan talks about losing his two best friends to the violence in Syria. Jowan attended one year of school in Turkey, but now he works in a cellular shop.

Assimilating in Society (05:14)

Erdal, a broker, speaks about the ways some Turkish people exploit and mistreat the Syrian refugees. Rostam speaks about coming to Turkey and starting up a business.

Seeking a Better Life (03:02)

Mahmud and Ahmad talk about the prices and methods for crossing the border illegally into Europe. Ahmad talks about how few opportunities are available to Syrians in Turkey.

Syrian Cultural Center (03:50)

Refugees gather together in a Syrian Cultural Center and talk about their experiences. Samer talks about why he started the center as way to organize cultural activities.

All Refugees are Human (01:39)

Fatima talks about the resiliency of Syrians and how they will work hard to prosper no matter where they go. Fatima speaks about the inherent humanity of refugees.

Seeking Legal Residency (03:50)

Erdal speaks about Turkish employers cheating Syrian workers out of pay. Fatima speaks with her husband about his progress in seeking legal resident status in Europe. Syrian families are divided while they seek asylum.

Negotiating with a Smuggler (02:56)

Ahmad and Mahmud talk about negotiating with a human trafficker and the safest routes they could take. A trafficker talks about using small boats when refugees cannot afford better.

What the Future Holds (06:09)

Rostam sings at a Kurdish wedding ceremony and shares his opinions on life in Istanbul. Fatima talks about getting a permit to travel to Germany. Samer says Istanbul is a thriving place for Syrians.

Credits: Next Stop Istanbul: the Refugee Crisis (00:14)

Credits: Next Stop Istanbul: the Refugee Crisis

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Next Stop Istanbul: The Refugee Crisis

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With neighboring Syria in ruins and stricken by a civil war, Turkey keeps its borders closed in exchange for billions of euros from the European Union. Many Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans have managed to cross the porous borders and are now in Istanbul, the gateway to Europe. Will they stay there or is crossing to Europe too irresistible? Last year, thousands drowned during the sea crossing to Europe. After the agreement between Turkey and the EU, checkpoints and patrols along the coast have increased. Turkey is coming down harder on the human traffickers: hundreds of them have been arrested. Still they can’t stop people crossing into Europe. ‘The flow of refugees to Europe will never stop. If one route is blocked, we will find a different one’, says a human trafficker from Istanbul. The population of Istanbul, estimated at over 10 million people, has grown with half a million Syrians, Afghans, Somalis and Pakistanis. They make up 5 percent of the total population and their numbers are rising. Aleppo and Damascus resound in the streets and neighborhoods of Istanbul. From Syrian jewelers, restaurant owners and estate agents to book stores and schools. Many want to stay, but the billions of euros from the European Union seem insufficient to offer all refugees a viable future. How is their reception organized and what does reception in the region imply? Basaksehir, with its low-priced houses, is one of the parts of Istanbul where many Syrians have settled. It's a dilemma to everyone: having to choose between a new existence in Istanbul or to risk everything in a flight to Europe. There is 13-year-old Cuwan, a Syrian boy, who doesn’t go to school but works in a telephone shop for 12 hours, 7 days a week. His father is in Germany and hopes to be reunited there with his wife and children. Rostam on the other hand, has set up a sewing shop and he is a wedding singer. To him Istanbul is not a stop on the way; his future lies in Turkey. To Syrian brothers Ahmet and Mahmut Istanbul is a stop on the way. Working in a sewing shop, they hope to earn enough money to pay the trafficker who can help them cross. The two are sharing one dream: Europe! Is Istanbul the promised city or just a stop on the way to Europe? VPRO Backlight – Next Stop Istanbul with, among others: Cuwan and Fatimah (Kurdish boy and his mother), Selma and Yusuf (married, refugees from Syria), Rostam (owner of a sewing shop and wedding singer) and Ahmet and Mahmut (brothers, refugees from Aleppo).

Length: 48 minutes

Item#: BVL129513

ISBN: 978-1-64023-653-0

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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