BİTLİS - Refugees trying to get to Europe going through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey, struggles with hunger and thirst in their months long walk and sometimes they are exposed to intimidation and extortion.
Refugees fleeing from their countries for various reasons sometimes froze to death or drawned at the sea. Those who can survive all these, reach other cities by walking kilometers from the Van border. Refugees who are hungry and thirsty on the roads for days want their voices to be heard. Refugees on their way from Van to Tatvan district of Bitlis are threatened by people they do not know and their money is extorted.Refugees who cross the mountains to avoid being caught by the Gendarmerie checkpoints spend the night under bridges or in parks.
SOMETIMES THEY CAN'T EVEN ACCESS WATER
Mercan Niyazi from Afghanistan says: "They threaten us with knives and guns. They take our money by force. We encounter many difficulties on the road. We slept under a bridge last night. Someone stole my friends cell phone. Sometimes we are threatened by strangers and they take our money. Some tradesmen sell a product worth one TL to us for 3 or 4 TL. While bread is one TL in some places, they sell it for 3 TL to us. Sometimes we can't even access water and bread."
TO BUILD A NEW LIFE
Stating that they fled from war to build a new life, Niyazi said: "We went to Pakistan from Afghanistan and then to Iran. We walked to Turkey from Iran and crossed the boder. Then we walked from Van to Tatvan. We will go to İstanbul from here and then hopefully to Europe. The reason we fled is the ongoing war in our country. The war is everywhere. In the city, in the villages. I lost my brother at war. We are fleeing from war to build a new life."
'IT'S COLD BUT WE HAVE TO'
Stating that they have been on the road for a month now, Niyazi said: "We could only reach Tatvan in that time. We sleep under the bridges at night. It's getting cold but we have to. We sometimes find a vehicle but if the police finds us, they send us back. Then we start all over again."
Another refugee Nur Ahmet says he is on the road for 35 days. Ahmet said: "We have walked through the mountains and hills and came here. I will go to Konya from here. My father is a shepherd there. I will go and help him."
MA / Barış Dönmez