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Soccer Lifts Spirits of Africans Illegally in Turkey

Turkey is one of the most heavily traveled transit routes for illegal immigrants from Third World countries trying to enter the European Union. In recent years, aid workers have seen large numbers of Africans appearing for the first time in the streets and ghettos of Istanbul.

A 23-year-old illegal immigrant from Nigeria has organized an annual African soccer championship in Istanbul to improve the image of illegal immigrants in Turkey, to provide an opportunity for Africans to network and to have fun.

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Ivan Watson
Ivan Watson is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. Following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, he has served as one of NPR's foreign "firemen," shuttling to and from hotspots around the Middle East and Central Asia.