Helen Mackreath


15 February 2017

In Istanbul

Last summer, a young Syrian woman in Istanbul gave birth to a baby boy with a severe umbilical hernia, which required surgery. But after three months he still didn’t have an ID card, and doctors wouldn’t perform surgery without it. Songül, one of their Turkish neighbours, took the baby and his mother to all the hospitals and emergency clinics she knew of, to no avail. One hospital took a blood sample and gave them a referral for surgery, but they were turned away for not having an ID. They were told to go to the police station to get a copy of the baby’s birth certificate. They did, but the hospital wouldn’t accept it – only an ID card would do, they said.