JK Bank

After nine years of war, which began with the intervention of the Soviet Union in 1979, Afghanistan entered a new round of political turbulence,  full of intensive conflicts. The country whose economics have been entirely paralyzed, sacrificed too many of her people during these war and conflicts, caused an immense wave of immigration to the neighbor countries. Meanwhile, Afghanistan has become the country which people migrated the most, recently

The first impact of the great migration wave was seen in Iran. Iran, which has been trying to cope with the economic problems arising from the embargoed since 1980,  announced that it would not be possible to accommodate more illegal immigrants in 2006. After this date, the new address of Afghan migrants was Turkey.

Afghans recently took their first steps to Turkey after the September 12 military strike. Following  the junta era, Kenan Evren the president, led the Afghans to place villages in various parts of Turkey,  due to a policy against the Soviet Union.

Nowadays, the main hopes the people who fled their countries due to economic crisis and wars, are to reach to Turkey but by paying a cost  to smuggler groups  who are mostly Turkish. Vehicles, which even their trunks are crowded of people, for 1000 dollars per person, come to Iran through Afghanistan. These Afghan trucks are being  stopped at the border and all valuable things of people are often seized by Iranian soldiers, and thus allowed to pass to Turkey. This illegal immigrants journey usually ends in Istanbul Esenler Intercity Bus Terminal.

Afghan immigrants have settled in Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul in the past period, many of them have attended social life by obtaining a residence permit. Recently, Afghans who have to come from illegal roads to Turkey instead of Iran are taken from Esenler Bus Terminal and placed directly in old desolated buildings  around the urban transformation areas in Istanbul.

Occupations in the region where Afghans are located are also ready: “Waste Paper Workers”. They collect  the recycled materials that are in garbages to the two wheels trolley cars called “çek-çek”. At the same time, those who operate the warehouses where the materials they have piled up with are also owners of the rooms they lived in partially destroyed buildings…

While their daily lives in a room with too much people are very usual, but the  life in the streets are very difficult. They are able to survive by saving extremely limited amount of money they earned by dreaming to return back to their families in future.. Afghans, who are aware that Europe is completely closed to them, say they prefer their days to live by not forgetting their past and trying not to worry about the future.

The Afghan Apartment project is a witness  to Afghan youth placed in three rooms of a three-storey building in Küçükpazar for a  period of three month of home life.

They live in a historical building. Nearly 30 men live in the building. Fights are inevitable.
The tattoos with the sewing needle known as the tattoo of prisoners and seafarers are common in Afghans. In general, tattoos in which family members are written have a spiritual importance.
Afghans complaining about the inadequacy of the money they earn in the jobs they work cannot go to the barbers because the money is only enough for food and smoking. They cut each other’s hair with a razor they take jointly.
There’s no water in the apartment. They need to take care of the water they need.
They don’t have a private room.
Afghans generally prefer to spend their only Sunday on Sunday. The moments of the daily life and the monotony are fun.
Afghans, who take care to keep the place where they live, can’t be said to have broken out of life.
Some people use local tobacco products. These substances, similar to tobacco gum, are wrapped in a napkin and kept in the mouth.

Anil Yurdakul was born in Istanbul and works as a freelance photo journalist.

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