Syrian refugees are returning home

ISTANBUL
Published 27.11.2019 17:15
Updated 28.11.2019 00:11

What is the European Union doing for refuges other than praising Turkey for its efforts from time to time?

The European Parliament acts as if it is nothing but a platform that only makes speeches about refugees and criticizes Turkey at every opportunity with unrealistic claims under the influence of terrorist groups, Cypriot Greeks that do not want Turks in Cyprus, and ignorant Christian lobbyists that wish to keep the Muslims out of Europe.

However, the European Parliament has to hold Turkey as an example and has to applaud it when it comes to refugees. In fact, the Sakharov Prize should be given to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who provides security for property and life to over 4 million people.

Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening. The European Union, which has examples like Greece whose soldiers are torturing refugees, or Italy and Malta which have closed their borders to refugees even when their boats sink, tramples human rights, is criticizing Turkey which has saved the lives of millions of refugees.

The European Union has no right to criticize Turkey when it comes to refugees. On the contrary, it has to take lessons from Turkey.

Over 4 million refugees saved their lives by escaping to Turkey from the 911-kilometer border with Syria. Our European peers know very well that for five years, Anatolian lands have been housing the highest number of refugees anywhere in the world. Today within the temporary housing zones, 62,578 people, and out of these zones, 3,622,404 Syrian refugees are living in Turkey. With its efficient migration management, Turkey in an exemplary country to the entire world, providing in the fields of health, housing, food and education to refugees.

In the lasts eight and a half years, Turkey has mobilized all of its resources for Syrian refugees.

In order to allow refugees to adapt to the cities, they are living in municipalities that offer them every resource they have. The amount of money Turkey has spent on the Syrian refugees is over $40 billion.

Despite this, since 2016 the EU has only provided 3 billion euros (approximately $3.4 billion) of aid although it promised double that figure. Once again the EU didn't uphold its promise.

This economic burden Turkey has shouldered is too much for a single country, especially if international institutions and the European Union does not provide the funds they have promised. Geographical proximity should not make any single country the sole bearer of such responsibility. Justifiably, Turkey expects action, not guidance, from the international society within the context of fair sharing of responsibility and burden.

But despite all of this, Turkey is not only working for the Syrian refugees within Turkey but it is doing the same across the border. Turkey, which has provided a secure zone to Syrian refugees within Syria, is also providing all necessary humanitarian services to these people.

The only solid steps taken for the Syrians to return to their homes are being taken by Turkey. By cleansing the western banks of the Euphrates River and the surrounding regions from terror, Turkey has been able to build hospitals, schools, churches, and mosques. It has activated agricultural and infrastructure projects. And now it plans to bring security, peace and basic services to the east of the Euphrates. With Operation Pace Spring, Turkey has begun working to cleanse and revive regions east of Euphrates. It is producing a safe zone free from night attacks and barrel bombs both to allow the refugees to live in their own country in peace and security and to provide security to its own borders from terrorist groups like the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh which targets Turkey directly.

The safe zone that was formed after Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch has become the most habitable lands within Syria. It is expected for over 1 million refugees in the beginning and an additional 1 million refugees after that to return their homes in the other safe zone that is formed with Operation Peace Spring.

As Turkey, we are providing services like security, health, education, roads, water, electricity and all local government services, without any discrimination, to all Syrians. In addition, the governance of the area is handled by local assemblies formed by the local population. Around 370,000 people have returned to the zones cleared of terror. In the settlement plans for the secure zone, settlement areas with 140 villages with a population of 5,000, and 10 districts with a population of 30,000 and over 200,000 buildings are being planned. Schools, hospitals, industrial sites, prayer areas, green areas, roads, water and electricity infrastructure are also within the context of this planning.

As you can see Turkey is doing everything in its hands and more for the refugees to live a humane and peaceful life when they return to their own countries.

Honestly, why isn't the European Union by the side of Turkey in this matter? Wouldn't it be better for EU citizens and the EU to support Turkey so the refugees don't have to come to Europe? Wouldn't it?

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