ISTANBUL - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plan to return up to 2 million refugees to Syria is increasingly in question. With refugees carving out a new life for themselves in Turkey, many may be reluctant to return, while rights groups warn of forced deportations.
Mandy restaurant in Istanbul's Aksaray district has been serving locals for more than six years.
"We will not return to Syria," said Mandy owner Isam Abdi.
Abdi left Syria at the start of the civil war. Arriving in Istanbul, speaking little Turkish and having no contacts, he managed to build a successful business. He now owns two restaurants, his children are in college, and he sees only Turkey offering him a future.
"Because of the war, (it's) not safe there," he said of his Syrian homeland. "They say in Damascus it is safe. But (there) is no electric, no gas, no nothing. ... It is easier to live here. And as I said, we established a new life from zero here, and now we are going good. I can't leave here and go and establish a new life there."
While Istanbul has been good for Abdi, he acknowledges that for other Syrians, it is a different story.
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