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'I do not know where my homeland is'

Everyone has moved at least once in her/his lifetime from city to city, house to house or country to country.  Moving from one country to another is the most complex one, because it is very demanding. It requires adapting to a new way of life, regulations, language, society, state, etc. Everyone has a different migration story. While some are heart-breaking, others are tragicomic. I have listened to various migration stories. These stories are totally different than each other but their common feature is to have new and better opportunities that their homeland could not offer them. Among all migration stories I have listened to, I was deeply affectedfrom hearing a story of a 60-year- old Turkish man who has been living in London since 1980.

He told me his story with tears in his eyes. “I was politically active when I was a student in Ankara in 1970s. You know that time Turkey’s politics divided along the lines of left and right.  We were witnessing the worse leftist and rightist student violence, both on the streets and in the universities. Every day more than ten people died as a result of these fights between the left wing and right wing people. I am politically left wing and during that time I was demonstrating with my friends against American imperialism. Most of my closest friends died during the demonstrations and then the military coup happened; the army took control in Turkey in 1980. It was a horrible time. Every day a lot of people were arrested, tortured and killed. I was wanted and I did not want to be tortured, arrested or killed. The only escape was to migrate to another country and it was not so easy. I had to have a new passport and arrange the journey. I applied for asylum when I arrived in the UK and then became a refugee. During this time, it was very difficult for me to work. I did not know anyone and was unable to speak English. There were not many Turkish people living in London that time. I was sharing a room with five others and working illegally in low-paid, hard jobs mostly in catering sector. After a certain period of time, I had a right to apply for a settlement. I finally had a right to work in the UK. For a long time, I could not go to Turkey, because I was still in blacklist. I lost all of my relatives and most of my friends in 1999 earthquake inGolcuk, Turkey, no one left behindSince migrated to the UK, I have not been to Turkey. I watch Turkish television, read Turkish newspapers online, but I do not want to go there. I want to remember Turkey as I left behind. I was fighting for a democratic and independent country, but I had to escape. I built a new life in the UK. It was very hard at the beginning then I get used to it. Now, I do not know where my homeland is.”  

A very sad migration story ends in destination country with a lot of unanswered questions.

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