Seven years ago, like thousands of other Armenians, 58-year-old Anahit opted to overlook the age-old hostility between Armenia and Turkey and move to Istanbul from her hometown of Gyumri. One simple factor guided her decision -- she needed a job, and Turkey offered the best place to find one.
The $600-$700 that Anahit (not her real name) earned each month as a cleaner and caregiver for Turkish families was enough to support a family of four back in Armenia. But, now, with the February 1 imposition of new tourist visa regulations that limit the stay of non-residents to no longer than 90 days within a 180-day period, she says that she may consider returning home.
In the past, illegal labor migrants regularly used the three-month tourist visas, easily renewable, to live in Turkey for years.
“We are in absolute uncertainty. Every day we wait, unaware of what situation we might face in case the new regulations are applied,” Anahit said of the Armenian migrant community in Istanbul. “Nobody knows what will happen to us.”
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This is part two of a two-part series. You can read part one here: http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65086.