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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Turkey - Syrian 'Refugees' by Spursfan2 on 26 November 2015 10:12am
We flew back on Saturday from Kusadasi, on the Aegean coast of Turkey where the Syrian 'refugee' problem is bad.

The reason I have put the word refugees in inverted commas is that it is doubtful if the ones we came across were genuine refugees.

Put simply, they were pick-pockets and thieves and preferred begging to getting a job.

Don't get me wrong, we are sympathetic to the plight of GENUINE refugees, and if we had seen any we would have given them money (or better) food. However we didn't, we just had experience of gangs (made me think of Fagin) being brought into the town. They would go round in 'family' groups - man, lady and one or two small children - and had signs in English saying that they were Syrian refugees. The children were so cute and it broke your heart to see them, but you had to be hard or they would have bled you dry.

1. A restaurant owner we know told us that he had offered a man a job washing up for 50tl a day (a decent wage there, about £12) but he had refused as he could make more begging!

2. We were at his restaurant talking to ex-pats from the animal charity we support. One of the ladies told us she'd been siting at a table outside waiting for us when a Syrian 'family' came along - man, woman and small boy - and she had offered them 20tl (just under £5). Not only did the Syrian woman have the cheek to say it wasn't enough (!) but the boy went into her bag while she was offering the money and it was only because the restaurant owner saw him that she kept her purse !!

3. We were again at the restaurant but this time with a Turkish friend when more Syrians came round begging. We told them to go, but our friend spoke to them and said they were hungry and that their baby was hungry. We kept saying to him that they were only after money but he insisted, and so the restaurant owner kindly got them a meal together and sat them at a table. We thought they must be genuine, so offered to pay for the meal but the restaurant owner said it was ok. We then left for half an hour or so, and on our return the family had left. The restaurant owner said they had left almost ALL of the food!!! Hungry? If they really had been they would have eaten it all, surely.

Every time we were at a restaurant and Syrians came begging we would hold our belongings tightly, as they would send their small children in close to the table begging, but also attempting to steal !!

I was so sorry for Syrian refugees before this, now I am more cynical about it all which is a shame for those who are genuinely trying to take their families from anger and make a better life for them.
Re: Turkey - Syrian 'Refugees' by Spursfan2 on 30 November 2015 8:23am
We DID have a lovely restful holiday despite the above.

One evening we went for a meal at some Turkish friends' apartment. After a lovely meal, we sat together talking and laughing over a few beers.

After a while (and I hasten to add I was only on shandy so it wasn't the drink lol !) I thought to myself 'It doesn't get much better than this!'.

It didn't matter that they were Turkish and we were English; that they were Muslim and we were christian. All that mattered was that we were friends enjoying each others company.
Re: Turkey - Syrian 'Refugees' by suzulu on 19 December 2015 1:59am
It is difficult to see who are genuine refugees and who are not. What a cheek leaving most of the food when the restaurant owner was kind enough to feed them.

I have seen a man several times on the tube selling small packets of tissues and he always looks well dressed.

Anyway, glad you had a lovely time in Turkey.
Re: Turkey - Syrian 'Refugees' by Spursfan2 on 19 December 2015 8:12pm
Thank you Sue.
Re: Turkey - Syrian 'Refugees' by tucsonmike on 29 December 2015 12:25am
One day in Tucson, I was on the bus. Four guys were discussing their begging strategies, which corners were good and which police officers to avoid.
Re: Turkey - Syrian 'Refugees' by Spursfan2 on 2 January 2016 7:42pm
Our experiences in Turkey certainly (and sadly) changed my view on the whole refugee thing. I say sadly, because these are only a small percentage of the people fleeing from life-threatening situations. If I can put it this way - they give refugees a bad name.

I wouldn't so much mind their begging (though of course the refusal of an offer of employment as described above would still be annoying !!) if they were not so aggressive and demanding. And of course if they did not attempt to pick-pocket at the same time!! We would probably have given them money or bought them a meal if they had not shoved their hands almost in our faces. As it was they did not get a penny (or should I say a lira!).

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