Are we the ones who denied that Syrians sought refuge in Iran? - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

Are we the ones who denied that Syrians sought refuge in Iran?

Before 3-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi's tiny body hit the coast of Bodrum, a resort town in western Turkey, the bodies of refugees, women and children trying to reach Europe had hit Libyan shores. They didn't even turn to look.

For weeks the misery of Syrians left to the mercy of human smugglers in the Mediterranean was before our eyes in the form of human skeletons among the sand. They didn't even stop to ask what is happening there.

It's not Syrians and Iraqis alone, the people of Arakan, Eritreans, Nijerians, Somalis, Burmese, Central Africans, Yemenis and Palestinians fleeing their country have been fighting for their life for months in the seas. Every week we would receive news of a sunken boat, a boat lost in the open sea or hundreds of people dying from a country with a coast.

Those who have made the refugee matter their own matter for months, for years, those who have written about the matter for the world to hear, those who prepared reports to draw the attention of the international community, those who spend days or weeks in conflict areas at refugee camps, as well as those who have devoted their life to helping them did not even try to take out the pain, the anger rising in their hearts upon seeing that photograph with their apathy. But they, who saw these poor refugees as terrorists, beggars, as miserable people who don't suit their country or who disturb their visual comfort, raised their voices more than everyone else.

I never thought anybody could do politics over the body of a child who lost the battle to survive and gave his final breath. Yet those, who for years have systematically been saying, “The government is taking care of Syrians with our taxes,” those who spread lies that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) granted citizenship to Syrians to gain their votes, those who promised, “Once AK Party loses power, we are going to send them back to Syria,” those shameless people who, at provinces such as Gaziantep made provocative statements with slanders such as “Syrians are stealing your jobs, they are stealing your bread,” causing xenophobia, did this too. They used the dead body of a baby to hit one more time, a man, who has probably cared the most about them in this world, who has gone through so much in the last two years for the sake of his fight for them. So, apparently President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the murderer of that baby; that's what they are saying. The Turkish Shabbihas, who in any quarrel, go as far as to say, “Those barrel bombs are being thrown so these babies don't die,” and see all opposition equal to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), without a care for them while they are alive, Turkish neo-Nazis like Ertuğrul Özkök burning with an undying hostility toward Arabs and Islamophobia wrote pieces demanding, “Germany doesn't take them in, so why do we; kick them out.” Gülenist soldiers who wrote headlines like “NATO should intervene in the murderous Assad regime” until 2012-2013 before the U.S. changed its Syria policy, who did all they could to prevent solving the problem while it could be solved between Iran and Turkey, and who turned to blame Erdoğan once the U.S. changed its policy, all hit Erdoğan.

Upon seeing those photographs, we were ashamed to hit those who cleared the complex Syria issue from Bashar Assad's tortures, war craft, barrel bombs and chemical weapons to reduce it to ISIS alone, who didn't even include in the equation the Shiite foreign fighters, who, while trying to accuse Erdoğan of sectarianism, were shown as innocent and joined the crimes of Shiite and Nusayri leaders with blood dripping from their hands in Iraq and Syria where sectarian discrimination is fiercest, but they have no shame.

As they never pat the head of an orphan, who list their family in Syria and fled to Turkey, trying to sell tissues at the lights, because they never asked them how they were, because they never thought of visiting a refugee camp or knocking on a refugee family's door to help them, they don't know the answer to the question, “Why did you flee, when will you return?” Yet they don't take the time to read the thousands of reports that don't serve their skewed mentality. Those people will not return unless Assad leaves. When asked, “So you don't want Assad, but look at the state of your country; is it better this way?” those people who describe what it is like to live under the fear of correspondence are quite sure that they will be killed once they return, that Assad will not forget. When you ask those who fled from Aleppo, Hama, Hummus, Latakia and Idlib, “What about ISIS?” they respond, “The opposition will fight them and protect us.” Yet they agree on the common idea that if they return while Assad is there, the regime will eventually kill them. Anti-regime people, who never held a weapon, who believed the “general amnesty” law Assad introduced in 2014 and surrendered to the regime going missing to never be heard of again, prove right the concerns of those who fled their own country.

So if the millions of people are fleeing from ISIS and not Assad, as claimed, why is there not a single Syrian refugee in Iran, the greatest ally of the Assad regime? Why is nobody questioning this? We criticize the West for not taking in the refugees because of xenophobia, Gulf countries for not providing adequate support despite their wealth, but really, why is there not a single Syrian fleeing to Iran? Why is it that those who flee Syria take refuge in another conflict area like Iraq, but never transit from there to Iran? So if ISIS is the problem and Turkey is to blame, why is Iran not on even the route of a single person trying to pass the mountains and seas to flee to other countries?

So, come on, let the shameless find a lie and excuse for this too.


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