"Beyond my ethnicity and where I come from, I am a human being."
We paid a visit to the Alyaseen family, residing in Ankara, Çankaya, as part of our Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) Programme that aims to support vulnerable people living under Temporary Protection, International Protection, International Protection Applicant and Humanitarian Residence statuses in Turkey. We started chatting with Mahmud Bey, who greeted us with a smiling face, along with his children. The story of the Alyaseen family reminded us of the difficulties faced by millions of people who had to leave their country, and that it is possible to build a happy future with the power of hope.
The Alyaseen family consists of 6 people. They had to take shelter in Turkey in 2016 due to the destruction caused by the tragic events in their country. Mahmud and his wife Asma, who started a new life in Ankara with their 4 boys, the youngest (being) 2 and the oldest 14 years old, are struggling like many families for the future of their children.
While Mahmud, who used to be an English teacher at Al-Baath University in Homs before the war, talks about his life in Syria, the sad expression on his face shows that the wounds caused by the war are deep and still fresh. Saying that he has an interest in history and historical artifacts, Mahmud shows warm family photos from their trip to the Ancient City of Palmyra in Homs before the war and sadly conveys how this city was destroyed during the war. As a person dedicated his life to education, he talks about the pain he feels caused by such destruction of the historical and cultural heritages from ancient civilizations.
Emphasizing that people who are trapped between conflicts and lost everything they held had no choice but to leave their ruined homes to protect their families, Mahmud Bey states that he and his family first came to Idlib and then to Turkey. Saying that they feel safe here and that their children can receive regular education in a healthy environment, Mahmud Bey states that the Turkish people they met have been very helpful and friendly towards them. He sas: "Our neighbors and the community accepted us and treated us like family. This is very precious to us."
Meanwhile, we meet Mr. Faruk, in the words of Mahmud Bey, the little boy of the house who wakes up from his sleep. Although our conversation did not attract the attention of 2-year-old Faruk, we have the opportunity to get to know his older siblings. The eldest of the siblings, Mohammed, is a 14-year-old high school student. Muhammed writes poems in Turkish and has a considerable interest in basketball. Having a special interest in writing, Mohammed's biggest dream is to become a creative screenwriter. Ahmet on the other hand is a 13-year-old middle school student. He is especially keen on archery and says that he will become a doctor like his uncle in the future. His other sibling Tawfek is 12 years old and loves to play football. Tawfek's dream is to become a successful architect like his other uncle. The children who are eager to study say that they easily adapt to school and that they have a good relationship with their teachers and friends.
Stating that the assistance provided by the ESSN Programme funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) within the scope of the Kızılaykart Programmes is one of the biggest sources of assurance for the Alyaseen family, Mr. Mahmud says they use the cash assistance to cover their rent, bills, and basic needs. Expressing their gratitude to the Republic of Turkey for making them feel safe, and to the Turkish citizens who accepted them; He says that they wanted to donate blood to the Türk Kızılay to show their gratitude. However they were not accepted due to their citizenship status. By saying, "Beyond my ethnicity and where I come from, I am a human being."; while hugging his son Faruk, he expresses once again that the support provided regardless of language, religion or race is has a great value for them that it cannot be forgotten.
Concluding our visit, we say goodbye to Mr. Faruk and his brothers, and convey our greetings to Ms. Asma, who could not join our conversation because she was not at home, in her absence. We thank Mr. Mahmud for his hospitality and his time and leave the house with a smile on our faces.