The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

Refugee Crisis EU UNHCR

Syrian and Afghan refugees paddle towards the Greek island of Lesvos. UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Idil Kina, a 2nd year medical student from Turkey. Ms Kina is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

When I was 13 years old, I wrote a post to a blog site on humanitarian issues. It was my first time writing something like that. I didn’t know much about human rights or any of the global issues going. So I wrote about something I was aware of, something that  affected my country: migration. “Migration in Developing Countries” was  my title. I didn’t do any previous research, yet just with my observations and the  things I learnt in my social science class.

And now as a 19-year-old woman, here I am, writing about migration.

I grew, migration did the same. It grew and also became a crisis. To be more specific, the European Migration Crisis.  A great flow in population occurred in the last few years, from Middle East to Europe.  The story behind this was very familiar: a conflict, a problem in one place made it for the people impossible to live there. Thus they have to move to another place. But that revealed or caused other problems there.

Cultural collision, trying to integrate to a new society without losing their own identity, weren’t easy to deal with. Economic issues couldn’t be overseen too. The lack of facilities(hospitals, schools…) and the limited job opportunities challenged the migrants. These also affected migrants through  the people of the receiving country. The habitants’ slight fear towards change, was nurtured and supported, and then used in order to steer and rule people.  This caused the migrants to  face discrimination and the violation of their rights.

At which point the crisis started? Well…For the migrants, the crisis started when something happened which forced them to leave everything they build up and made them lost their hopes on the future. For the habitants of the receiving country, crisis started when they saw new people coming to their country, from a different culture, and when they start to question if they are in danger too.  Another crisis came for the migrants when they saw the discrimination they face might harm them as much as the things they had to escape.

The process of migration and the reaction towards it, impacted migrant’s health status. The conditions of the path they took to a better life; made them open to abuse, trauma, injuries and illnesses. The constant change of location and their legal status made it almost impossible for them to reach healthcare. The ones who reached to a new country faced problems with healthcare, because of the lack of consulting services, communication problems, and the cultural differences.

As medical students, we have to fight with this problem. The most effective thing we can do is to advocate for the non-discriminatory and human rights based policies in healthcare.  We also have to create awareness among healthcare workers, for them to adopt the same approach.  Only then, we can create a healthcare system that actually delivers healthcare to everyone in need, and live up to our title as doctors.

About the author

Hi, my name Idil Kina and I’m a 2nd year medical student from Turkey.  I live in a city called Izmir. I am a member of IFMSA and I am the Local Officer on Human Rights and Peace in my Local Committee Ege. I usually define myself as a learner, a carer and a thinker. And for me, writing is a way to be all of them.  I believe as people who care about the world’s issues, our opinion matters. Therefore by sharing it, we can make a difference.

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Comments

  1. Refugees are not migrants and it is not a “European migrant crisis” Just as Cubans fleeing to the USA was not a “American” migrant crises or Vietnamese boat people were not American boat people. The media by attaching “Europe” to these migrant flows is attempting to shift responsibility to Europe when Europeans have nothing to do with these people. They didnt cause them to leave or invited them to come. There is nothing European about the so-called “European migrant crises”.

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