Zafer Ertem wants to help Syrian refugees in Turkey – despite resistance from the authorities.
Zafer Ertem is hugely disappointed with the international community’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The German with Turkish roots therefore decided to take direct action himself. He went to western Turkey, where hundreds of refugees are still arriving daily – with growing doubts over whether the perilous and illegal sea crossing to Greece is worth it considering the likelihood of being sent back to Turkey. Zafer Ertem and a group of fellow-volunteers have been building a camp in the town of Torbali, where refugees have access to water, food and even health care. Most importantly of all: they are also provided with jobs – which helps to persuade the refugees to stay put, says Ertem. The Turkish authorities are threatening to close the camp, however, eager to relocate as many refugees as possible back to the region near the border to Syria. Will Zafer Ertem manage to give the refugees the prospect of a new life – and save his village?