Yemeni refugee stranded at Istanbul airport pleas for help
A Yemeni refugee has been stranded at Istanbul airport for at least 20 days after enduring multiple back-and-forth deportations between South America and the Middle East, Deutches Welles Arabic-language service reported.
Marwan Huzam Al-Qahtani, from Taiz, a city controlled by Yemen's internationally-recognised government, detailed his exhausting plight in self-shot videos from inside the airport.
He explained that his life had been difficult in war-torn Yemen, forcing him to flee to Ecuador where he aimed to get to Mexico. There have been previous reports of a small number Yemenis attempting to cross the Mexican border into the US.
According to his personal testimony, featured in DW's Arabic-language program 'Jaafar Talk', Mexican authorities detained him for 23 days before rejecting his asylum request and deporting him to Turkey.
Lacking a Turkish visa, authorities in the country deported him to Egypt, where he faced the same problem and was sent back to Turkey. Turkish authorities then flew him to Mexico, but Mexican authorities again sent him back to Turkey, according to his testimony.
Stuck in Istanbul airport since June 4, he is heard asking: “Where do I go? Do I stay here until I die?”
In one clip, he claimed to have no food or water and that he had received no help from anyone at the airport.
He also said he had been shrugged away by Yemen's embassy in Turkey after reaching out, told instead to solve his "problem" on his own.
DW contacted the embassy. They said they did not have the authority to grant Al-Qahtani entry into Turkey but could assist him if he sought to return to Yemen.
Al-Qahtani expressed no intention to return, saying that he faced forced conscription there and is ready to move to any country which accepts him.