Feature 03 Oct 17

Iraq’s Migrating Kurds Take Romanian Path to Europe

As other routes to the West close up, more and more Kurdish migrants are crossing the Black Sea from Turkey and then crossing Romania towards Western Europe.

Ana Maria Touma
Hundreds of Kurds reach Romania by boat on the Black Sea on their way to Western Europe. Photo: Mustafa Khayat/Flikr.

Peshawa Mohammad, 35 – not his real name – says he would do anything to reach Britain with his wife and three daughters.

He already spent 2,000 US dollars smuggling his family out of Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey and another 10,000 dollars on taking them from Istanbul to the Romanian port of Constanta, a dangerous trip that took 27 hours. They arrived on September 9 and immediately requested asylum. 

He had studied it all: he knew the Romanian coast guards would catch them and knew also that if they didn’t want to be sent back to Diyala, in Iraq, they needed to request asylum in Romania.

Romanian coast guards rescued up to 500 migrants from the Black Sea in August and September.

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