Paydar H. about his initial time in Istanbul

Paydar H. is a Kurd from Aleppo in Syria. After the bombing of the city in 2013, he fled to Turkey at the age of 24 with his brother via Afrin in Syria and reached Istanbul on 15 May 2013. After finding a flat in Istanbul, his parents and sister joined him. He married in 2015, has two children and works for an international organization as an interpreter.

Paydar H. in Istanbul. Privat Picture.

It was, it was a bit hard. It took us one week to find a house to rent. Nobody was renting us a house. They were saying:  no house for Syrians. I don’t know why, at that time they didn’t hate, they didn’t have the hating situation that we have now, between national people and people that came from outside of Turkey, immigrants I mean. Even then, we found hard time to rent the house. In the end, we rented one house, it wasn’t so good, but we started with that. We had money, we bought some stuff for the house like bedroom, living room, washing machine, refrigerator etc. After that, I started to look for a job. It was hard for me to find a job but, I was good in languages. I was speaking, English, Arabic and Kurdish, and then without Turkish, without Spanish, I was trying to find a job based on my three languages, the search took a long time, until I found a job in tourism sector. In Sultanahmet I started to work, and I stayed in it for a long time. It was a long period working in tourism sector.[…]

 

People were welcoming Syrians that time. If they know that you are Syrian, they would come and give you some help, ask if you need anything at that time, even then it was hard to find that house. They weren’t sure if they wanted to rent their houses to Syrian, because they can leave everything and go; leave the bills like make you a problem. So they were bit afraid, on that situation. We didn’t have ideas, we didn’t have anything. It was only in 2014 that I got my, Geçici Koruma Kimliği [Temporary Protection ID card].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paydar H. is a Kurd from Aleppo in Syria. After the bombing of the city in 2013, he fled to Turkey at the age of 24 with his brother via Afrin in Syria and reached Istanbul on 15 May 2013. After finding a flat in Istanbul, his parents and sister joined him. He married in 2015, has two children and works for an international organization as an interpreter.

In this passage, he talks about the initial difficulties of renting a flat in Istanbul as a Syrian. He also talks about the difficult job search and his first job in the tourism sector.

This interview was conducted by Elif Yenigun for the We Refugees Archive in April 2021. It took place online, in English.

Translation from English to German © Minor.