EU countries are currently in panic. Europe is facing an organized refugee influx for the first time, as Syrian refugees flood into EU countries, particularly Germany. Syrians' walk toward Europe is rather different from former refugee influxes. Turkey is now doing its best to keep Syrians at the borders and persuade them not to continue on their way. But how long can this last? If their number rises from the current number of 2,000 to 500,000, citizens of the Republic of Turkey would be the ones firstly objecting to their military and police officers' use of batons on helpless Syrian refugees. People in Turkey are rightfully asking why we should protect the borders of the EU, which does not even allow Turkey to join their organization, always issues decisions against Turkey, and leaves Turkey alone in the face of PKK terrorism.
Moreover, citizens of Turkey are right in asking what more Turkey could do. About one-third of Syrian refugees, whose total number is nearly 6 million worldwide, have taken asylum in Turkey. Turkey has spent $7.6 billion so far for the refugees fleeing Syria or Iraq and seeking asylum in Turkey. The sum of the aid provided in this regard to Turkey for refugees from the U.N., EU and all the other countries is only $418 million. In other words, Turkey is left alone in its efforts to care for 2 million refugees. Even the U.S., which boasts being the superpower of the world, is behind Turkey in terms of aid. In the Syrian crisis, which has been ongoing for nearly five years, the overall aid provided by Washington for Syria has not passed $4 billion.
Within the last five years, 5,950 refugees have lost their lives on the Mediterranean Sea as a result of sinking or colliding boats. While many EU countries adopted indifference to this non-humanitarian picture on the Mediterranean as a policy, Turkish Coast Guard boats are struggling to bring refugees back from the brink of death on the Aegean Sea. So far, the Turkish Coast Guard has rescued a total of 53,228 refugees, but unfortunately, 274 refugees could not be saved.
While allocating 160,000 refugees poses a problem in the EU, as racist protests, attacks on refugee camps and hostile attitudes toward Muslims have increased in the face of only a few hundred thousand Syrian refugees, the Turkish public has never had anti-refugee tendencies.
Today, while no European country is willing to host Syrian refugees, who are beaten with rifle butts or tried to be stopped with tear gas on the borders of many European countries and left alone to starve at train stations, Turkey is struggling to do every kind of humanitarian aid possible to refugees who turned bus terminals into camps since they wanted to head to Germany. Turkish police and military officers are assigned in these areas only for the security of Syrian refugees.
But what is the EU doing? It only issues statements. In addition, some EU administrators are making quite obnoxious statements, which are disgraceful for the entire EU and disregard all the values of the EU. The hotspot approach will be handled in an extraordinary summit of leaders in the EU, which claims to set an example to the world in human rights and democracy. The summit will gather on Wednesday. The suggestion of making controls at border gates in Italy, Greece and Hungary to select certain refugees, is a bankrupt policy for the EU. As a matter of fact, it is a disgraceful resolution in terms of EU values. Qualified and skilled refugees would be allowed while the others would be rejected. Conversely, refugees that are poorer and unqualified need immediate protection and asylum. The categorization of refugees, who have narrowly escaped from the tyranny of Syria's fascist dictator, President Bashar Assad, is embarrassing.
Is Hungary really an EU country? Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's statements regarding refugees contradict human rights, and the entire EU remains indifferent to all of this. It would be useful to point out that Syrian refugees do not want to leave Syria. They did not have plans to live in any EU country before, but the harsh circumstances did not leave them another option.
When the EU starts to support Turkey's suggestion of declaring a buffer zone in northern Syria and establishing refugee camps there, a perspective can be developed for Syrian refugees. Then they could believe that the EU will take steps against Assad and they could live in northern Syria with the hopes of returning to their hometowns as soon as possible after Assad leaves. This in what the EU must comprehend urgently. This is also the people of Syria's only wish.