'No one has a right to lecture Turkey on what it should be doing'

Published 26.04.2016 01:31

Since the signing of a mutually beneficial agreement between Turkey and the EU,

Prior to the signing of the agreement, Turkey was already exerting all efforts to address the issue, with nearly 3 million refugees now living in Turkey and officials in the country doing their best to provide humane living conditions to them.

No EU country can compete with the quality of health services provided to refugees in Turkey. All state hospitals in the country serve Syrian refugees free of charge. Syrian doctors also have shifts at local hospitals during certain hours of the day. Since it has always been considered that Syrian refugees have had to live outside of Syria for a long time, they are provided with nearly all the same equal opportunities with Turkish citizens in social, cultural and educational terms.

Current working conditions are being reorganized to prevent the exploitation of Syrian refugees in the workplace. Refugees in the EU, unfortunately, cannot even dream of such conditions. In addition, all these opportunities are provided by a country that is not as prosperous as Germany or France. Citizens of Turkey, who do not enjoy as many welfare services as Germany or Sweden, voluntarily share what they have with Syrian refugees. State services provided for refugees do not gain any responses from among Turkish citizens, such as refugees, are prioritized while Turks are neglected. Contrary to what we often see in Germany, no protests are held against buses that carry refugees. Also, unlike Germany, refugees are not set on fire in Turkey.

In Turkey, anti-refugee demonstrations are not organized as in Dresden, Germany where we see them every Monday and foreigners do not go to the streets.Turkey does not have a racist ideology like the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA).

Unlike Italy, refugees are not attacked on the streets in Turkey. Unlike our Eastern European counterparts, we do not leave refugees to their fates in open fields in snow or rain. Refugees are not obliged to shiver in cold weather in cheap tents in Turkey.

In most EU countries, where officials lecture people on human rights and regard many countries as incompetent to deal with the subject, including Turkey, we see practices being implemented that disregard human rights. Even though Turkey is not an EU member, it is implementing the criteria of the EU perfectly for its refugees - albeit only on paper.

Last Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans paid a visit to Turkey where they met with refugees in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

A joint press conference was held with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the leaders were able to express their opinions. Underlining that Turkey is fulfilling its responsibilities, Merkel said: "We visited Turkey today as part of the agreement between Turkey and the EU. The date of our visit, April 23, which attaches additional importance to our visit. We saw that Syrians were embraced as a society. Germany will allocate the required fund which is provided by member countries.In return, Turkey must fulfill the requirements for visa-free travel. We are going to conform to the agreements made on the subject. Our ministers are working in coordination."

Also, reflecting the feelings of Turkish citizens, Tusk said: "Today, Turkey is the best example for the whole world [on] how we should treat refugees. This is not only a political and formal assessment ... this is also my very private and personal feeling. No one has a right to lecture Turkey on what it should be doing."

Yes, Turkey sets an example to the world on the refugee issue. Turkish citizens are well aware of this since it is the outcome of their devotion. For this reason, they regard the insults made by people in some EU countries, including Germany, that target Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a great injustice and cruelty to Turkey. They are right.

Also, for Turkish citizens, it is hypocritical to praise Turkey for its effort, while some circles run a campaign against the provisions of the agreement made with Turkey, particularly against visa-free travel.

We hope that reasonable politicians and authorities in the EU will stand up against such plots and prevent any outcome that would undermine Turkey, the EU or refugees.

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