Only few brave or unwary turists cross the thin border line between the best restaurants of fish in Kumkapi and the frenetic world of thousands of persons working as little ants. The workforce is cheap, but everybody can find something to do here. This is the beating heart of the manifacturing of leather and fabrics that will be sold in Europe for thousands of Euros. Big vertical stores, boxes, handcarts, little vans, people, discussions, bargainings, cats, children with tea tray…
It seems that the migrants inside the Fatih are quite invisible. Some take part in the big business of this industry as worker or artisan, some others are obviously richer. They come from Western Africa or from the former Soviet Republics. They make a huge amount of money with the import-export trade of stuff produced in this area.
A vertical pipe between two adjacent buildings is the border between the detention center inside Kumkapi and the tourist restaurants serving the best fish in town. If you don’t know, if you don’t pay attention, you cannot imagine that in the building that looks like a “normal” police station, there are in reality dozens of illegal immigrants waiting for their expulsion. Only sitting at the same cafés and taking a bit of time you can see that customs are in reality friends and relatives trying to communicate with their hands and their faces with the persons behind the gratings.
After one day spent in Kumkapi, one question: isn’t that better for immigrants to stay in Istanbul and work here instead of going to a dreamt Europe that does not exist in reality?