European countries, whether inside or outside the EU, are in no position to lecture Turkey on its handling of the refugee crisis. As was clear to any observer during the peak of the crisis in 2015, European countries have a rather bad report card when it comes to dealing with asylum seekers. The panic and consternation on how to respond to the mass migration among governments is hard to forget. Some European countries even began digging in their heels at the thought of taking in as few as 500 refugees. When the issue of sharing the numbers proportionally was brought up, some refused even a single one. EU member states have still failed to reach agreements when it comes to the refugee plight; some even closing their ports to leave countless vulnerable people at the mercy of the Mediterranean's perilous waves. Some of these ships had as few as 30 refugees onboard, given no relief. Such policies, in practice, trample all over the values previously purported by the EU. If that was not enough, these principles have been disgraced further by the practice of imparting the task of controlling refugees to warlords in Libya. Refugee camps in Libya are places in which cases of torture and rape are rife, and the standard of living is terrifying. The human drama being played out in these camps is shocking and paid for with money handed out by the EU, who is more than willing to turn a blind eye to this situation. Similarly, Libya coast guard ships, which have their expenses paid by the EU, go on regular refugee hunts. The drowning of refugees at sea does not seem to bother Libyans. What is important is to stop the refugees from going to Europe. This is the source of their money, after all. Thanks to the economic aid offered by the EU, grave crimes against humanity are being committed in Libya and beyond. What is Europe's response? Nothing. Furthermore, the situation in fellow EU member Greece is truly scandalous, with Greek coast guard ships and border patrol officials trampling EU values on a daily basis.
Videos of Greek soldiers puncturing the inflatable boats of refugees in the Aegean is a shameful display. Similarly, the number of refugees forced to return to Turkey after reaching Greece is rather high. The living standards of refugees in Greece is a total disaster. There are countless further examples of such disregard and wanton aggression being played out every day, while Turkey, according to the latest U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) figures, has done everything in its power to accommodate up to 4 million refugees – despite Turkey's economic situation lagging far behind that of many European nations. Turkey has provided humane living conditions to refugees across the country and continues to do so. Refugee camps in Turkey are probably the most well-equipped in the world, as noted by reports from the U.N. and the UNHCR. All guests returning to these camps after having been interned in their European equivalents have expressed a strong preference for the provisions afforded them in Turkey. The recorded number of Syrians living in the country has reached 3,674,588, an increase of 8,529 from the previous month. In addition to Syrians, the country's refugee population is mostly made up of Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and Somalian citizens. However, Turkish counter-terrorism operations in Syria, namely Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, made vast swathes of Syria secure, allowing for the return of 354 thousand civilians. In the latest news, thanks to the continuing “Operation Peace Spring,” hundreds of thousands of Syrians have voluntarily returned to the safe zones created by the Turkish military. This number is increasing with every passing day, yet the task remains to rebuild infrastructure, including hospitals, from the ground up. However, in a remarkable turnaround, EU countries are now appealing to Turkey to not force Syrians' return but instead to let them go willingly. How are they not ashamed by their own arrogance? Turkey has never indulged in such a practice and has never forced a single refugee to return. On the contrary, in fact, Turkey has taken steps to ensure refugees return to their homes willingly. Europeans trying to advise Turkey in these affairs should be aware of these facts. If one day refugees decide to embark on yet another grand exodus to Europe, Turkey will not try to stop them by "applying force." In that case, let’s see what the attitude of fickle Europeans will be regarding those volunteering to head for their shores.
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