Interior Affairs Minister Süleyman Soylu announced through his clear statement that Turkey’s humanitarian politics, which it has been adopting towards migrants for years, gaining the world’s applause, has certainly not changed and will not change as a result of the certain “inappropriate and anomalous” images that recently emerged.
Mr. Soylu, repeating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s clear stance in recent days, said: “We can never evolve into an understanding that shifts the slightest from the Ansar [helpers] and Muhajirun [migrants] concept.”
This idea guarantees that nobody who is obliged to take shelter in Turkey due to the unsafe conditions in their own country, will forcibly be sent back to their country. We thank Mr. Soylu for this statement.
What happened last week that led to the emergence of those images within the scope of "peace" operations that basically turned Syrian refugees' lives into a living nightmare?
Those people who did not have their identity cards with them in instant checks, people who have been living in Istanbul for years, who perhaps established their own business, who have children or their mothers waiting at home for them, were put on buses without any prior preparation and sent to Idlib or to the locations they are registered at.
The end result of this sending procedure has reminded us, in an extremely striking manner, that Turkey’s migrant policy, one of the best stories Turkey has to tell the world today, is no longer based on a strong and minimal legal infrastructure. This is actually a very critical situation, and despite being based on a deep philosophy and humanitarian sensitivity, it has been revealed that our migrant policy can easily be affected by everyday political conjuncture, and that this philosophy is unable to adequately protect those who are supposed to have basic human rights.
Thank God that news of the critical situations reached our minister’s attention and just conscience, and the necessary intervention was made. Otherwise, Turkey would have drawn a picture with its own hands that would leave it in shame throughout history.
Now, we have a new opportunity to turn to our conscience and reconsider. Turkey is in a position to reach a more institutionalized standard that can serve as a model to the world with respect to its humanitarian politics, which has earned applause worldwide. After making a sacrifice beyond all legal levels worldwide in terms of humanitarian politics, it should not fall behind the most basic migrant law in the world with the impact of political conjuncture.
Regardless of how others do it, how much the abide by this or not, there are rights given to migrants by the global immigrant law. By treating those who fled the massacre in Syria and took shelter in Turkey as “guests, rather than refugees” from the very beginning, Turkey actually provided greater opportunities and morale than that guaranteed by the migrant law. It was with this morale that the oppressed Syrians saw the warmth and hospitality that will not be seen in any other refugee experience. This was consolation, even if in the slightest, for the family and friends they each left behind, for the beloved whose death is impossible to forget, for their destroyed homes.
As Turkey does not consider immigration from the East within the scope of asylum as per international immigration agreements, to which it is a party, Syrian asylum seekers do not have access to globally-accepted refugee rights. Turkey has given Syrian migrants legal rights under the status of “temporary protection.” However, these are required to be applied continuously without ever deviating from consistency.
The Ansar (helper)-Muhajir (migrant) brotherhood is really a highly respectful sensitivity, however, it must be based on a law that protects people under any circumstance.
Of course we have to institute order, reiterate that Turkey has a state order, and ensure that the incoming migration is not arbitrary. It is impossible not to agree with Mr. Soylu’s following statement: “We need to institute this order in this aspect. Instituting this order is also in favor of the brothers and sisters we are hosting today in the Ansar-Muhajir spirit. If we do not ensure this, it will get out of hand.”
This is certainly true, yet it should be remembered that there is another sociological order that has formed through certain practices of this order that have been ignored for a few years, and that such hasty intervention may lead to unstoppable bleeding. Of course, seeing this problem and giving 30 days notice shows that common sense triumphed for now.
However, these 30 days should not only be given to Syrians but also to the institutes to properly implement the regulation.
1. What can be done to prevent such events from recurring?
2. How right is it to use Idlib as a point of deportation as though it is a safe zone? Idlib is still a location the tyrant Bashar Assad continues to bomb daily, and certain terrorist groups abduct and threaten people.
3. Of course, there is a need for more sociological, scientific evaluations on the drawbacks of sending them from Istanbul, to provinces they are registered in. What would we gain from forcefully sending people, who have established businesses, started working in Istanbul within legal boundaries, to Anatolian cities where they cannot earn their livelihood? Let us discuss this too.
‘Just As They Don’t Help, They Wouldn’t Want You To Do It Either’
Meanwhile, Al Arabiya and other prominent Arab media are almost about to jump from joy about “Turkey’s immigration policy failing.” As if it is not enough that they did not take in a single Syrian refugee to date, they want Turkey to fail in humanitarian politics. Just as it is depicted by our Holy Book, the Quran: “Just as they do not help, they do not want you to help either.” Because your help reveals their stinginess, their faults and sins.
They even resorted to presenting the statements I made as belonging to their mentality partners here at a conference organized by the Arab Communities in Turkey, and stooped as low as reflecting it as, “A U-turn from Yasin Aktay.” You can imagine how they interpreted my statement, “Certain ignorant groups in Turkey have the approach, ‘Syrians are stealing our jobs.’” The joy they displayed by twisting my words, referencing the quoted section of my statement is not going to last.
In the clear statement of Turkey, our president and interior minister said: “We will not shift a centimeter, a millimeter from our Ansar [helpers] and Muhajir [migrants] policy.” As we continue to do this, the world is going to continue to shame you for what you are not doing.