'Citizenship for Syrians' Careful! - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

'Citizenship for Syrians' Careful!

Some are going to directly think I am against granting citizenship because I said “Careful.” The “others” love our self-criticism articles. They immediately quote them. We are unable to quote them. Because nobody does self-criticism.

Anyhow, that's not the issue now.

Since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened the issue of granting citizenship to Syrians, the traditional reductionist and collectively accepting minds are currently in action. They leaped at the opportunity: “Tell us, are you against citizenship or not?” This is the question. If you say, “Let's discuss the matter carefully and decide after,” they continue to pressure you to push you aside with a loud thump saying, “Stop beating around the bush now, are you against it or not?”

After the statements I made on a TV program the other day on channel NTC and the things I wrote on social media, I was subjected to a severe amount of pressure. Opposition parties produced such arguments that numerous people appeared, ready to take these and create tension and polarization and build a fight. It was their lucky day.

The subject has already been politicized, sociology is in deep sorrow

In the meantime, sociology and law are suffering. Migration, migrant, refugee, asylum seeker, citizenship, international migration law and human rights… they are all currently held subject to torture.

The subject has already been politicized. If you are defending the granting of citizenship, then you are labeled “the president's lackey.” If you are against citizenship, you are “the president's enemy and a fascist.” There is no middle way. “So tell me, are you against citizenship or not?”

“What if we first start discussing the sociology, strategy, planning, economic benefits, geopolitical effects first?”

“Stop the futile talk, what is your answer?”

My country's dear people. One would think they are so well-versed in Machiavelli. They speak all his theories by memory.

Which of our shortcomings did we notice?

President Erdoğan, who opened the issue, contributed to good things. We noticed our shortcomings.

1. This helped us notice that stress and energy had accumulated in the community on this issue.

2. It was realized that the government needs an urgent migrant policy.

3. We saw that there are no civil society organizations carrying out serious political studies on the migration and migrant problem.

4. It was revealed that despite the extensive number of migrants accepted in the last five years, we still have no organization in bureaucracy to manage this issue.

5. It was seen that the Directorate General of Migration Management needs to be in more fields and carry out stronger communication activities.

6. We realized that the prime ministry's migration problem coordination center was closed and there was a confusion.

7. We saw that the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Kızılay (Red Crescent) and other civil society organizations produced the world's most successful aid policies. However, it was through this that we also saw which institutions were unable to switch from the aid policy to the socialization policy.

8. Even though the National Ministry of Education produced a project on how we will educate 1.5 million migrant children, we understood that this was kept from the public.

9. We saw that strategic planning, forming a concept, producing policies and carrying out communication activities are, like always, left on the “list of unnecessary tasks.”

I would list more, but I have no room left. So, it was really good that our president opened this subject. Everyone came to themselves and understood the state we are in.

Risky subjects in the community

I said “careful” because:

1. The community does not know the issue and they are afraid of what they know, they object and react to it.

2. It is enough to slightly manipulate the environment to turn the serious amount of reactionary energy that has accumulated on the inside to turn it into conflict. There are those who are working to make this happen.

3. The opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) referendum idea is very dangerous. Just think about the kind of propaganda that will be carried out by those who say “No to citizenship.” It could instigate clashes, racism and sectarianism.

4. The CHP may reduce the issue to the “Sunni-Alevi” dilemma. Because almost all of the refugees are Sunni.

5. There is serious information pollution. Those who have no knowledge on this issue are being provoked by saying, “There is [positive] discrimination against Syrians, they are even going to be given houses from TOKİ.”

What should be done?

My humble opinions:

1. Since the ministry of immigration cannot be established immediately, an operationally strong organization having the status of AFAD, TİKA and Red Crescent needs to be established.

2. This organization should undertake the regufee problem in all aspects and assume responsibility.

3. This organization should be assigned a skilled and experienced person who is passionate about this issue. Favoritism should not work. Such people are currently idle in the prime ministry.

4. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım should discuss this problem in all its dimensions at a coordination meeting. A deputy prime minister should assigned as the sole responsible.

5. An advisory council including civil organizations should be established.

6. Turkey's migrant and refugee policy should be immediately determined.

7. A strong communication strategy should be prepared to explain this policy to the public.

8. The reasons why the public is concerned, scared and angry should be determined. Instead of showing reaction to this, intense communication efforts are required to eliminate these concerns.

9. The richness and benefits of granting citizenship to migrants should be explained well.

10. It should be explained well that citizenship will be granted not only to Syrians but also the Meskhetian Turks, Turkmens and other people. The subject title is not “Citizenship for Syrians” but “Citizenship for migrants,” and this is how it should be presented.

The subject really is very important. I am one of those who believe it will provide great contributions to our country. I will explain in my next column why I believe this and how it will benefit our country.

However, if we fail to manage this issue well, we can face serious problems as well. So I say, “careful.” I am also saying this to draw a little attention!


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