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Refugees in Turkey depend on illegal medical centers, but the Syrian physicians who run them are fleeing


FOUR MONTHS after Dr. Rami opened the doors of his illegal medical clinic in Istanbul, he has yet to find enough doctors to staff it. An Arabiclanguage poster at the entrance says the clinic provides pediatric care, dentistry and a pregnancy unit. He still hasn’t crossed out that last service, despite the fact that his Syrian gynecologist and obstetrician both left Turkey just after the clinic opened in February—traveling across the Aegean Sea to Greece, and then on to Germany.

Rami and his seven colleagues are all refugees from Syria, where dozens of hospitals have been bombed and doctors have been shot at and kidnapped during the past five years of war. But for most refugee doctors in Turkey, the only way to practice medicine is to find employment in an illegal clinic like Rami’s. Rami, an eye surgeon who fled his hometown of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria four years ago and lived in southern Turkey until last year, estimates Syrians have set up about 100 such facilities across the country, and there are five in Fatih, Istanbul’s historic heart.

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PUTIN'S SECRET WEAPON Every day, the red line ticks up and down. Some weeks it trends higher, others lower. It measures the most important vital sign of Russia’s body politic: the popularity of Vladimir Putin. In the Kremlin they call it the reiting, the Russian pronunciation of rating and the reiting rules supreme over all the nation’s political and economic decisions. When it stands as it did in late May at a comfortable eighty two percent, Russia’s elite breathes easy. When it dips as low at sixty two percent, as it did in 2011 when Putin announced his return for a third presidential term every resource is scrambled to reverse the trend at any cost. In recent times, that has meant anything from staging a lavish Olympic Games to taking the country to war in Ukraine and Syria.