Captain Rackete, Salvini and a Europe that doesn't want immigrants

Published 08.07.2019 22:25
Updated 09.07.2019 00:16

Within the last few days discussions regarding immigrants have intensified in Europe. It is a good thing to see sensitivity regarding this matter increase due to immigrants who are trying to reach Europe by endangering their lives. In fact, it makes me happy to see people holding public rallies for the sake of immigrants and to see them defend immigrants.

Carole Rackete, the captain of the German ensign civil society ship Sea Watch, which is patrolling the Mediterranean to save immigrants, is "my heroine" too. This young woman who is saving immigrants that are helplessly waiting in inflatable boats prone to sinking at any moment is doing her job with a courage that is worthy of film material. Despite Libyan attack boats, Italian coast guard ships and the Maltese coast guard's attempts to interfere, Rackete is saving people and does not "stop" until she delivers them to a port in Europe. Two weeks ago she brought 40 immigrants she saved to Italy's Lampedusa port by overcoming obstacles and without giving up due to threats. Over there she taken into custody. Last week on Tuesday she was released. The investigation into her is still ongoing.

Thanks to Rackete, starting with German public opinion, European public opinion has once again become interested in the subject of immigrants.

Unfortunately for awhile European public opinion had forgotten about this matter. Nobody was concerned with the immigrants except for a couple of civil society ships that were patrolling the Mediterranean through donations of a small group of Europeans. In 2018 in the ill-tempered waves of the Mediterranean 2,300 immigrants drowned. In 2019 so far it is detected that around 600 immigrants have drowned. Unfortunately, these numbers are far from reflecting reality. We can only learn about the drowning events that are detected by EU member nation's coast guards and EU coast guard Frontex. However, there are no statistics about the immigrants that drowned in the Mediterranean and whose corpses wash ashore in Africa or that became fo

od for the sharks. In short, the situation is much grimmer.

Once again we are facing a new debate. A civil society ship named Alan Kurdi, which saved 65 immigrants from an inflatable boat around the shores of Libya, was aided by Malta while searching for a port to go since the Italian ports were off-limits. Due to increased sensitivity in European public opinion, some EU member states gave Malta a guarantee that they will be taking these 65 immigrants. Malta softened and obliged. Sixty-five more immigrants, mostly children, were saved.

Despite this, another civil society ship Alex brought 41 immigrants it saved to the port of Lampedusa, despite threats and prohibitions by Italian Interior Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini.

These events are not good ones for Europe. As a Turk, I am proud of my country. My country has opened its arms to over 4 million Syrian refugees and many more Pakistanis, Afghans and other people from other countries. Turkish citizens are not living in prosperity as EU member states citizens do. They possess less than what EU member state citizens have. However, they have shared what they have with immigrants. Are there no problems? Of course there are at times. In fact, this exemplary behavior by Turkey in regards to human rights is being exploited in elections by certain circles. Rich EU member states that are fighting over 40 or 50 immigrants are supporting parties that do not want immigrants in Turkey in elections. The EU is very comfortable when it comes to immigrants thanks to Turkey. The discussion about how to share 60 or 70 immigrants within 28 EU member states is really a "luxury." And from my perspective, it is a "shameful" discussion in regards to humanity.

Turkey, which is being defamed by accusations like "there is dictatorship," "there are human rights issues" and many more, however, is still giving "humanity lessons" to all of the EU and Europe when it comes to immigrants.

In the meantime, European public opinion which is making all sorts of criticisms about Turkey is trying to "clear its consciousness" regarding the immigrants' matter by donating to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) which are the owners of two or three ships that are patrolling the Mediterranean.

Is it that simple? Personally, I am not angry at Italian Internal Affairs Minister Salvini. Salvini in his fight about immigrants is actually "pointing a mirror" to Europe. What is the difference between Salvini and other Europeans that are angry at him?

Every year thousands of immigrants come to Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta. Other EU member states do not even care about this matter. Italians do not elect far-right populists without a reason.

In regards to immigrants, far-right populists act "honestly" and do what they say. Against this backdrop, what are the social democrats, greens, liberals and Christian Democrats of Europe doing? The lives of the immigrants are not saved by "ethics" speeches. Or the arrival of immigrants is not stopped by giving money to African camps where human rights conditions are trampled. People are leaving their homes by risking their lives due to hunger and inhumane conditions.

If today immigrants are coming to Europe wave after wave from many countries, European politicians must ask "why is this so?" The wrong policies of European nations and the EU is the cause of this. Aren't the EU countries supporting the bloody dictator Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Egypt yet accusing Turkey, which is a democracy, of being a "dictatorship?" Does France have any right to complain about immigrants while it is supporting a terrorist in Libya? Germany, which is planning to send German soldiers to Syria just because the U.S. asked for it, should think carefully. There is no Daesh in Syria. Turkey ended Daesh, but there is a need for military aid against the terrorist organization PKK - its Syrian affiliates the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) which is supported by the U.S. in Syria. Immigrants are leaving their countries because of policies like this.

The EU does not only immediately need a humane migrant policy, or a way to share immigrants between countries fairly and making necessary preparations for the adaptation of migrants with the locals, it also requires a fair and humane foreign policy!

Or neither Rackete's courage nor Salvini's tenacity or the rest of Europe's silence will be enough to stop the great migration of immigrants.

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