A few days ago, the American CBS TV network ran a story from Istanbul showing a textile shop using Syrian child labor and drew a very sad picture, hinting the kids were being exploited like little slaves. Like in every society, there are people in Turkey who will try to exploit little children for a few dollars more. But these are not the majority; on the contrary, they are the exception. Trying to depict the Turks as exploiters of the Syrians is a crooked piece of journalism that does not befit our American colleagues. Just look at the anti-Turkish image such a TV program can create in the minds of the American public. On the same day as these scenes were aired on American TV, news came out about a man in Istanbul who donated his five flats to five Syrian families, a total of 60 people. The man lives in one room in the apartment and has not only given the houses up free of charge but is also sharing his food with the families.
Shouldn't the CBS TV crew have also searched for such stories that are in abundance throughout Turkey? Couldn't they have balanced out the bad example with another humane good example?
The American press would do well to question whether there is another country on this globe that accepts 2.2 million Syrians and spends $7.6 billion on them in three years while the world looks on. European countries are hard pressed to just accept a few thousand Syrians and are making a great fuss over it. They are shutting their borders to the Syrians and Germany has gone to the extreme of applying the Schengen Treaty on free circulation between EU countries.
Turkey has opened its doors to Syrians like no country would even dare and has given a lesson in humanity even to the Americans who brag about preserving supreme values.
What Turkey has done needs great applause and even earn it a Nobel Prize for Peace. Yet instead of this we see TV networks like CBS trying to dampen Turkey's enthusiasm and motivation.
Yes, we are not angels. We too have rotten apples among us. We do have people who want to exploit others and this includes the Syrians.
But in general Turks have been hosting the Syrians for three years against immense odds. Yes, we do have social problems. We do have security problems. But we have approached the issue from an Islamic point of view, accepting these people like the migrants of Mecca who were given a warm welcome and shelter by the people of Medina. If this had happened in another country, people would have been up in arms long ago.
Turkey is not as rich as the U.S. Turkey is not as rich as the EU countries. Yet, we seem to have a greater compassion for human values than any of them.
So it is high time our government and authorities started making a greater effort to tell the world what we have done here in real terms and make them see the realities. They should see their own shortcomings in our achievements.