Turkey has a big responsibility on its shoulders, and it has been doing the job perfectly for almost 10 years. I am talking about Syrian refugees, who number over 4 million now in Turkey.
They have become a big part of the population; their children have already been growing in Turkish culture and the second generation is coming now…
I am a columnist that always believes that immigrants give pluralism and new dynamics to societies, so I truly believe that our Syrian friends will become an important part of our country.
Unfortunately, however, with growing economic problems and xenophobic voices in the opposition and media, atrocities against Syrians are growing. The current government has taken on great responsibilities, but since widespread propaganda is becoming more effective, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) supporters are also starting to complain about the immigrants, which leave the AK party government in a difficult situation.
On the one hand, it is very proud to show the world our friendship and support, on the other hand, it faces criticism from its own voters.
That is why the world, especially the EU, should understand the difficult situation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government. The EU never gave enough financial support; Turkey did not receive the amounts promised, and it tried to carry the burden on its own shoulders, but it is too much. We need more money from the international system to carry on our immigrant policy.
The newly elected mayor of Istanbul from the opposition party, Ekrem İmamoğlu, said after being elected that the refugee issue is traumatic, and many surveys show that the refugee question played an important role in helping him win the election.
İmamoğlu's Republican People's Party (CHP) has been criticizing President Erdoğan's refugee policy, saying that Syrians are straining the country's social and economic infrastructure and that they must return home.
The possibility that over 3 million refugees will return home is impossible. There should be new policies, and new arrangements to build cohesion, but the media should help. Conventional media and social media are full of hatred against Syrians, so it is very difficult for the government remain deaf. Unfortunately, hate speech against refugees is seen as freedom of expression, which is totally biased.
More Syrians speak Turkish now. They can be invited to share their perspectives and introduce themselves on different platforms. I think that we have not been very keen to integrate them into our everyday lives. They live apart from Turkish society. We don't have Syrian journalists on our television screens or in newspapers and in our circles of friends.
Now it is time to think about ourselves, look in the mirror and try to build some empathy for the millions of people who lost everything. Those who got involved in crime should be punished according to the law, and those who violate social life should be taken into custody, but apart from that we have to show the dignity to embrace an unfortunate society on our own soil.