The news of the Paris attacks rocked the world, especially the G20 Summit in Antalya. In fact, last week the Summit had subgroups focused on the economy, yet from Saturday morning onwards priority was given to the terrorism issue. Still under the effect of the horrendous attack, we have been trying to find answers to on a global scale “What should be done?”
However, in its position leading the Summit this year, Turkey drew attention to the “refugee crisis” besides the issue of “sustainable economy.” And at the same time, I remind readers that Turkey went to great effort to get the “refugee crisis” issue onto the Summit's agenda.
In this way, while trying to integrate the refugee influx into economic problems, and calling for global cooperation within this scope, one morning suddenly, terrorism took first place on the list of discussions changing the conjuncture of the platform in Antalya.
At this point, I would have to add that the terrorism debate and the refugee issue could not be discussed independently of each other. The attitude of Islamophobia has gained strength with the Paris attacks, and the signs of a period in which refugees will be associated with this has begun.
The walls should not rise
On Saturday, while the Summit was expected to draw attention to the refugees as victims and to their basic human rights, new paragraphs were added onto the scripts on the lines of the successive concerns the Paris attacks arose.
That day and after, the discourse was mainly on how to avoid the refugees being re-victimized because of terrorist organizations and how to prevent these two groups from intersecting.
I could say everyone from country and institution leaders, including academicians and all other participants, was in agreement on this issue. For example, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau indicated that he was determined to take in Syrian refugees. Despite the insignificant number, this showed that his attitude hadn't changed towards these victims.
Expressions of animosity
While the G20 Summit was stage to similar palliative declarations, and wishing that Europe doesn't build walls around itself because of deceptive perceptions, questions appear on how much hope the discourse exerted will rise.
Because, while the statements made spread from Antalya to the world, the world couldn't help but hear Slovak Prime Minister Fico's “I told you so” statement, and the French LePen, “radical mosques should be closed down” statement. Fico's allegation “the giant risk that comes with refugees,” and Le Pen's “radical Islam” argument, are hard terms to define and sort, thus directly cause the formation of an Islam and refugee phobia. And these are only two examples of a perception formation to increase fear in Europe...
This is such a dangerous approach that it is moving the already radical-right, racist, exclusionary wing towards extremism.
Even worse, the strengthening of this wing in the region can lead to an increase in anti-Islamism and thus lead to attacks on Muslims. This may trigger terrorist structures to exploit this and make new excuses to increase disorder and gain new supporters.
In short, it is impossible not to be scared after hearing the first signs of a dangerous vicious cycle.
And thus, the refugees will suffer further
Under such circumstances, it would not be surprising if countries that were relatively warmer to the notion of opening their doors to refugees start to review their decisions. While the risks of the open borders of Europe cause hesitation to increase, fear of chattering will become the topic of discussion. The refugees will be sacrificed in the name of preserving unity. Thus, the refugees will continue to suffer, and countries like Turkey who have burdened themselves with this burden will not be able to run from facing difficulties.
If we go back to the G20 it was gratifying to see that the sessions went beyond condemning terrorism and that mutual action needed to be taken. In the report stated yesterday, there was a point on adopting a common attitude and cooperating on the refugee issue. Nonetheless, as long as there are people who see the first of the issues of equal importance to the latter, failure will continue to be presented instead of cooperation.
On the other hand, seeing positive developments in the Syria issue, which is actually the root of the current problems, causes us to feel some relief and hope.
Hope to see you on Friday, with a different aspect of the same G20...