The xenophobic rhetoric against Syrians in Turkey

Last year, the UN developed an emergency action plan to fight xenophobia, discrimination, and racism. Most countries, including Turkey, signed this action plan. However, the world's wealthiest countries, such as the U.S., France, the U.K., Israel, Canada, and Australia, objected and refused to sign. Very interesting, right? Countries such as France and U.K. complain about Turkey daily, yet they object to an emergency action plan aimed at fighting against discrimination, xenophobia, and racism. Xenophobia is one of the biggest issues wreaking havoc in the world today. It generally encompasses migrants and refugees. Every day, Muslims are being killed in the West due to xenophobia and Islamophobia. These countries, which seize treasures and shape their policies according to wars and ethnic conflicts in those migrants’ homelands, are actually the cause of migration. The racism never ends. Being white, the whole lineage coming from that country’s history continues as a deep discrimination policy. Reproduction and population growth policies are also designed in accordance with this. In other words, the increasing number of Turks or Muslims in the West is considered a threat. Malthus’ population growth policies, Gobieune’s theories that races are not equal, and Hitler’s understanding that foreign races taint Germans continue to run deep within. 

What is more intriguing is that the relationship between population policy and xenophobia is being prolonged in Turkey against Syrians.  Some political groups, parties, and great professors are prophesying that the Syrian population will pose a threat in the near future. A professor, who is both the deputy chair of a political party and a medical specialist, says Syrians will give birth to 10 children per household and soon become a threat to Turkey. He claims that this population growth will not only ruin our cultural and demographic values but also steal our children’s future. Therefore, he says, Syrians must be sent back to their country immediately! 

The professor is making a cultural interpretation on the biological basis with his medical specialization. Mahmut Sami, a medical professor, illustrates culture and society in his book on sociology that he wrote during the single-party period with lineage and race. He claims that developing pure and healthy lineage is a characteristic of good societies. The professor speaking today is following the same lead. He similarly evaluates culture and society through the lens of lineage and race. He maintains a policy based on population growth. He is also the deputy chair of a political party after all. This population and immigration policy presented through Syrians is largely influenced by racism and xenophobia. 

Yet, this country’s history, tradition and faith never classified migrants based on lineage or race. The billions of migrants who came from the Balkans and Caucasus were approached based on the common fate of history, joint experiences and beliefs. Citizenship is essential in democracy as well. Society is approached through citizenship. In fact, Syrians migrated to Turkey to flee from massacres and war – very much like those who migrated the Balkans and Caucasus to Anatolia in seek of refuge when the Ottoman Empire collapsed as a result of wars. Thus, we named them “muhajir” (migrants), and we continue to call them so. Syrians are our last muhajirs. 

We cannot approach problems that emerge as a result of migration by producing xenophobia, racism, and anti-threat security policies. There are more than 4 million Turks living in Germany alone. It hurts us when our brothers and sisters living there suffer from xenophobia, and are seen as threats. Those who are committing xenophobia in Turkey and approaching matters through race and lineage no longer have any ties left with this country’s long history and deep-rooted culture. They are acting as the mouthpieces of German fascism and Western White Supremacists. It does not make a difference how much they call themselves Turk. They possess a non-national conscious, and view matters through a lens independent from Islam and the muhajir culture. They think Turkey consists of Anatolia alone. They want Turkey to remain isolated. They offer Turks a horizon limited to Turks alone. They promise them a future that will be restricted to the small world of lineage, race and fascism. 

Xenophobic policy, veiled by science and medicine, is attacking through population growth. It is accompanying an emerging policy, which is the most dangerous of all. Anti-Syria sentiment, which has found legitimacy by taking advantage of science, authority and political power, goes beyond hostility. All elements possess this consciousness against Islam, against different Muslim sects. Today it presents itself against Syrians, tomorrow it will manifest against another Muslim element. I call on the muhajireen: look back at your own history and then consider the Syrians! The world is never a safe and reliable place!  

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