In the Central Anatolian province of Çorum, one of the areas where refugees are accommodated, there are currently 580 refugees including 420 Iraqis, 156 Iranians and four Afghans.
The children of the refugees learn Turkish and make new friends although they will be only be staying in the country temporarily. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Çorum Provincial Education Director Aytekin Girgin said they accept refugee children at their schools and that currently there are around 70 students from Iran and Iraq attending schools in the city.
“We don’t ask for an educational visa when registering refugee students. They only need to have a residence permit for six months. We let the police know when they leave the school or when they graduate,” he explained.
The refugee students have drawn some attention from their classmates and teachers. Seven-year-old Negin Shamooshki from Iran, who has just started first grade at Çorum Gazipaşa Primary and Secondary School, says she is excited to know people whose language she can’t speak well.
Negin’s mother, Somayeh Erfanianmohammed, says they have been living in Turkey for four months and that Negin speaks Turkish better than she does. Stating that that Turkey is a safe country, Erfanianmohammed says their neighbors are very friendly to them despite them being from a foreign land.
Fourth grade Iraqi student Sümeyye Halil İbrahim is a refugee who is well liked at her school. She speaks Turkish fluently and is successful in her classes. Sümeyye was born in the eastern province of Van. She is also known as a translator at the school.
“The newcomers don’t speak the language [Turkish]. I can provide a connection between them and the teachers. Turkey is my second land. I don’t remember Baghdad. But my mother says it was a beautiful city. I saw the photos of it before the war. It was beautiful,” she says.
Sümeyye’s mother, Esra Mohammedammar, says she loves Turkey but that they want to return to Baghdad if conditions get back to normal.
Other refugee students at the school such as first graders Fatma Ahamad and Mırna Rafi Hambarsoom from Iraq and kindergartener Toka Elugeyd of Iran are also well liked by local students and teachers.