“We wait…always…” The experience of Syrian exiles in Gaziantep and Istanbul = “Esperamos…siempre…” La experiencia de exiliados Sirios en Gaziantep y Estambul
Erika Alejandra Cortés Ibáñez
This research project focuses on the experiences and narratives of Syrian exiles living in Turkey. The emphasis of this research was placed on the perceptions of each person about their new environment, and the way they rebuilt their lives in exile while the conflict intensified in Syria. The research question is: how do Syrian exiles configure their social worlds in exile and how do they narrate their experiences? By social worlds I refer to the participants’ relation with their new life in displacement, to the space and the people around them, and to the way their memories and expectations influence this relation. I conducted my research with Syrians from different social backgrounds, different ages, and different dreams for the future.Their experiences, varied as they were, shared many similarities and exemplified the anguish and hardship that forced displacement causes to people. Some participants tried to center their everyday lives in remembering past times in Syria, during the beginning of the revolution and before it began. These memories were brought back to life by sharing them with others, by spending days following the news of the destruction of their cities, and talking to their loved ones that remained in Syria. Their life was interrupted when the conflict intensified and they were forced to relocate in Turkey, thus, most participants did not have the opportunity to regard this as the past, but as an interrupted present. While living in exile, most participants lived day by day without making further plans, hoping for something to change. The fact that the conflict in Syria is not showing any signs of arriving to a peaceful solution soon, people’s uncertain condition perpetuates.