Respect for refugees and helping; a must for humanity - ATILLA YAYLA

Respect for refugees and helping; a must for humanity

Neither are people angels nor is the history of humanity the history of angels. Human beings have – always and everywhere – harmed other people by inflicting corporeal harm, as well as harming the bodies and properties of others' relatives and loved ones, and they still continue doing so.

With no doubt, the worst of those inflictions is the one executed on life. The fear of losing one's life forces people to give into various forms of slavery or to leave their lands where they grew up and their roots as well as memories are buried. Consequently, people end up being immigrants-refugees in foreign countries.

Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, Turkey has been hosting millions of immigrants and refugees. It is both a moral and humanitarian duty for Turkey; it is both an international obligation and a situation Turkey cannot help, given its geographical position. In our country, there are more than two million refugees and immigrants, mostly consisting of children, women and predominantly composed of Arabs but not entirely. Some of those people are sheltered in dedicatedly prepared camps. The rest of them try to lead their lives in different cities, either staying with their relatives or living on their own. There is no need to be humble. Turkey is making history in terms of helping immigrants-refugees. Europe, who has been attempting to give a lesson of humanism and democracy to Turkey at every turn, has been having a stab at every explicit or implicit way to close its doors to immigrants-refugees.

In popular culture, the opinions stating that the immigrant-refugee flow is very dangerous are quite widespread. It is alleged that immigrants-refugees cause unemployment and lower the worker wages. They aggrandize the existing problems of the country or create new ones. I cannot state that a great number of people fleeing to another country very fast with nothing in their possession do not and will not cause any problem in the short run. However, all the scientific research demonstrates that the country of asylum will in the mid and long term benefit from the flow of the immigrant-refugee. For instance, accepting immigrants-refugees does not increase the unemployment rate, but decreases it; it does not lower the real wages, but raises them. In countries constantly receiving immigrants-refugees, every flow of immigrants-refugees accelerates the scientific and economic development, which will also be seen in Turkey. New talents will emerge among immigrants-refugees. Their struggles to hold onto life will take Turkey a step further. As an example, in recent days, a young Syrian immigrant has placed Turkey in a high rank in a music competition. If I am not wrong, according to the recently announced data Syrian refugees founded one-third of the firms established in Istanbul in the previous year.

The immigrant-refugee flow to Turkey has natural reflections in politics. Some politicians utter black-hearted sentences either because they believe so or they think it will appeal to their proponents, hoping that their utterances will do so. For instance, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, in one of his speeches, said: “Everyone is happy in their own country; we will send the refugees back to their country once we take power.” Even though he got criticisms he did not correct his words, yet he repeated them on a few more occasions. His sentences were received with pleasure by certain circles. In my opinion, they are embarrassing statements. People who found asylum in Turkey came here out of necessity, abandoned their lands and left everything they had behind in order to save their lives. Is it not a requirement of humanity to respect and help those people? Who would leave their land for no reason? Doesn't a political leader have to take these points into account while making evaluations on this matter and giving messages to masses?

We should question and condemn the ideas and approaches embedded in the societal layers against immigrants and refugees. For those who live in Turkey, it is almost an obligation, because when the family trees of almost everyone living in this land are opened and looked up, going back a few generations, it becomes evident that they are either immigrants or refugees. It is funny, offensive and pathetic that former immigrants-refugees are condemning new-coming immigrants-refugees. The fact that political leaders have been adding fuel to this flame is utterly obnoxious.


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