A kaleidoscope of ethnicities and languages, Aksaray’s bus station encapsulates Istanbul’s diversity - hundreds of people from all over pour onto its platforms on a daily basis. For many it is a new beginning, hopefully with a stable job.
Every year the country attracts thousands of migrants seeking employment, from neighbouring countries and beyond. Georgia is no exception. Turkey is one of the top three destinations for Georgian workers on the move - close historic ties and the geographic proximity have been key for the people’s movement between the two countries over the centuries, and the visa-free regime makes it attractive for those in search of a job, even a temporary one. Estimates set at around 2.5 million the number of ethnic Georgians in the country, most of them belonging to the historical diaspora, but data shows that over 1.4 million Georgians entered Turkey in 2012 (all type of visitors).
Daredjan Antia is one of them. The 58-year-old left her family in Georgia in 2011 and she has been living and working in Istanbul since then. She is a cook at Niko, a Georgian cafe sitting right in front of Aksaray’s international bus stop. Somehow she feels home is not too far away as on those platform listening to Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian languages is common.