Now he should take them back,” said local resident Mehmet Balci.
Turkey has spent over $4 billion on aid and complains of scant international help, but the sheer numbers of refugees mean many live in abject conditions with little or no access to education or healthcare.
A registration drive has reached an estimated 1.2 million refugees in Turkey, but half a million more remain outside the system.
. Tumble-down buildings are being demolished and those that remain, surrounded by rubble, are either occupied by poor Turks or rented out to the 300 Syrian families living there. Syrian refugees across the Middle East, some in exile for a fourth winter, face freezing temperatures, hunger and increasing hostility from locals as governments struggle to cope with the humanitarian crisis.
Lebanon and Jordan are tightening their borders whilst in Turkey, widely praised for hosting around half Syria’s estimated 3.2 million refugees, the influx threatens to upset the country’s delicate social balance.
Haci Bayram is one of the Turkish capital’s most deprived areas. Erdogan brought them here. Often, 75 people have to share a single toilet.
Some locals accuse the refugees of poor hygiene, urinating in the streets, drug-taking, brawling and stealing.
A Turkish couple look out of their window.
Although sympathy for the plight of Syrians remains high, it is largely saved for those still in Syria, or in the camps set up by the Turkish authorities near the border.
“In my 76 years living here I’ve never known such problems ..