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AUSTIN – After a nightclub massacre in Istanbul, Turkey over the holiday weekend, many people are seeking a better life in the United States – not only from those kinds of attacks – but also from their own government.
Dozens, actually, are making their way to Central Texas for safety.
Mahmet, a former professor at a Turkish university, asked KVUE to keep his identity discreet. He said he’s afraid for his relatives who still live there.
“I left the country about 5 months ago. I came here. I am very happy here,” he said.
Since a failed coup attempt in July, Mahmet said there have been more than 80,000 people detained, including educators, police, judiciary officials, journalists, and countless others. According to Mahmet, the government has begun labeling them as “terrorists”.
“In Turkey, [the] situation is very bad, many people are arrested,” he said. “There are not that many Turkish people in Austin but we probably doubled the size in the past few months.”
Gunar Arslan and the non-profit Raindrop Turkish House are helping the 20 Turkish families that recently immigrated to Austin adjust to their new life.
“These people, they couldn’t take anything with them,” Arslan said.
Arslan said there are approximately 500 Turkish families who’ve come to Texas since July. And as instability in that country grows, he expects to see more.
“All these families split up, and it’s really sad, it’s bad,” Arslan said.