Gaza City, Gaza Strip — Since the Israeli navy stormed Turkey’s Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010, which resulted within the killing of 9 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists who had been aboard the ship that was heading to the Gaza Strip in a bid to interrupt the Israeli blockade imposed since 2007, Turkey has turn into an essential vacation spot for Palestinian youth looking for to check, work and lead a greater life.
Since then, Palestinians had turn into more and more within the Turkish tradition and language, and Turkish language faculties and institutes within the Gaza Strip gained reputation.
However, over the previous few years, the Palestinians’ demand to be taught Turkish in these faculties has decreased in addition to their want to travel to Turkey for work or take up residence. This reluctance has elevated considerably prior to now few months.
The Ottoman Culture Center, established by Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) in 2009, and funded by the Turkish authorities, is likely one of the most essential facilities for language and pc research in Gaza.
Omar Saleh, the middle’s government director, advised Al-Monitor that the Palestinians’ curiosity in studying the Turkish language has decreased since 2017. A larger curiosity within the English language has emerged, he stated.
He defined that years in the past, many Gazans rushed to be taught Turkish, particularly these eager to go to Turkey to search out work, go to school or to migrate.
Saleh added, “Today the center’s students are university students who wish to obtain scholarships that the Turkish government provides annually to the Palestinians.” This 12 months, the middle launched 4 English-language programs, and never a single course to be taught Turkish as a result of low turnout.
Several financial and political occasions — primarily the ongoing depreciation of the Turkish forex (which dropped to $0.10) and the disappearance of seven Palestinian residents of Turkey in September — might be behind this development.
The Hamas-affiliated Shehab information company reported Oct. 10 that the seven Palestinians are being held in Turkish prisons for involvement in Turkish nationwide security-related circumstances.
In addition, Turkey is now not an appropriate place for Palestinian job seekers who’re discovering higher alternatives in different European nations, akin to Germany, Austria and Belgium. There are not any statistics indicating the variety of Palestinians who’ve just lately arrived in Turkey — a lot of them move by way of Turkey en path to different nations.
In an interview with the New York Post on Dec. 3, 2019, the head of the Palestinian group in Istanbul, Hazem Antar, stated that roughly 20,000-22,000 Palestinians lived in Turkey at the moment.
Khamis al-Saidi, 22, who traveled to Turkey three years in the past looking for a job, advised Al-Monitor, “Working in Turkey was a golden idea for me and the unemployed Palestinian youth. That is why I was enrolled in a Turkish-language institute [in Gaza].”
He stated that he labored in a number of sectors in Turkey, akin to clothes, agriculture and meals, earlier than he determined to move to Belgium two months in the past.
He famous, “Living in Turkey has become more complicated for refugees and expatriates. Turkey is no longer a destination for job seekers, amid the lack of job opportunities and low wages.”
According to Saidi, the deterioration of the Turkish lira is the results of a saturated marketplace for job seekers as a result of Turkish coverage of attracting refugees akin to Syrians and Afghans. When he moved to Turkey three years in the past, the lira was price $0.18, in contrast with $0.10 at this time.
Ahmad Abu Tarabish, a Turkey-based Palestinian researcher on Turkish affairs and author for the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper, advised Al-Monitor, “There are several factors behind the Palestinians’ reluctance to work, live or study in Turkey — most notably the coronavirus pandemic and imposed travel restrictions, in addition to Turkey’s financial and economic crisis since mid-2018 that has exacerbated because of the pandemic.”
He stated, “With an unemployment rate of 12%, inflation reaching 20% and the local currency having lost nearly two-thirds of its value, Gazans are finding that they have fewer chances to move to Turkey, especially in light of these economic indicators.”
At the official stage, Turkey remains to be dedicated to its stance in solidarity with the Palestinians, particularly the besieged Gaza Strip. Turkey continues to pump help within the Palestinian territories in any respect ranges, primarily in assist of aid providers and infrastructure. On Oct. 31, IHH offered help to 100 households affected by the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Osama Abu Nahl, a professor of politics and worldwide relations at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, advised Al-Monitor, “Since 2010, Turkey has opened its doors to Palestinians and other citizens, as part of its openness to the Arab world, which prompted the Palestinians to learn the Turkish language. Yet the situation has changed recently, especially the economic situation and currency devaluation.”
He stated that the forex devaluation has negatively affected Turkish residents and expats, making it tough for the latter to save lots of and change cash to arduous forex earlier than transferring it to their households at home, not to mention overlaying their very own bills in Turkey.
He added, “At present Turkey is nothing but a transit corridor to Europe for many Palestinians who arrive there. This is why they no longer need to learn the language because they do not intend to stay there.”
He stated that Turkey nonetheless needs to have good relations with the Palestinians, whether or not with the Palestinian Authority or resistance actions akin to Hamas, as a result of Turkey needs to be the chief within the area and affect the Palestinian trigger.