Majid comes from the Darfur region in Sudan and belongs to the ethnic group of the fur people. He fled to Turkey via Libya and has lived in Istanbul for over 10 years. Currently he works as a freelance translator for English, Arabic and Nyala. Here he talks about how he legalized his residence status.
Sorry to interrupt, even I resettled here I solved my problem and I legalized it. […]
Residence permit I have. […] [W]hen you have residence permit, you feel free. You feel more secure. But if you don’t have paper, you will face prison. You can be taken into the prison from time to time and for Sudanese people there is no deportation. […] They put you into the jail for 1 month and then they set you free. This was what happened to me twice. […]
First time I was in prison for about one and half month. And the second time was around 40 days. Last time they released me in Aydın. They put me in the camp over there, deportation camp. But they never deported me. They set me free after 40 days.
How do you manage to have residence permit?
I went secretly to Sudan, really. I went secretly because I am forbidden to go there, I am blacklisted. As I told you I am from Fur tribe and it is forbidden for me to go to my area. Just I went to Khartoum secretly, for three days and then I got back to here. I just got my visa from Turkish embassy in Khartoum (capital of Sudan); and I paid money, bribed people and I got back to here with my visa. This is how I legalized my situation.
Majid comes from the Darfur region in Sudan and belongs to the ethnic group of the fur people. Since 2003, rebel groups have been fighting against Sudanese government troops and local militias in the Fur settlement area. To date, more than 400,000 people are believed to have died as a result of the conflict, and 2.66 million people have been displaced.
Majid fled to Turkey via Libya and has been living in Istanbul for over 10 years. He now has legal residence status. He has worked in various international organisations in Istanbul. Currently he works as a freelance translator for English, Arabic and Nyala.
This interview was conducted in English by Elif Yenigun for the We Refugees Archive in May 2021 in a public park in Istanbul.