Crossing no More:
Demanding a safer route to Europe
Loubna Mrie and Miguel Winograd
There are between 1.5 and 2 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, more than in all the EU combined. Most of them, however, reside there as guests under a temporary legal status, and see Turkey mainly as a transit-point to Europe. In Istanbul, crowds of refugees huddle on the streets of Aksaray neighborhood every night waiting for a call from their smuggler so they can head towards the shores and embark on the perilous maritime crossing to the Greek islands. In mid-September, 2015, a group of around 500 refugees—organized through a Facebook group called Crossing No More,—held a sit-in in Istanbul's bus terminal at Esenler. They demanded that Turkish authorities let them board buses towards Edirne, so they could reach Greece by land and avoid the known and preventable dangers of the Aegean crossing. Many had nearly made it when they were turned back to Istanbul by Turkish law-enforcement. The bus station became a temporary shelter for the group that was stranded there for several days demanding a solution to their plight. They were eventually evicted.