Experts call on gov’t to launch new action plan over Syrian refugees

Various prominent researchers, academics and journalists — working on the issue of migration and refugees — have called on the Turkish government to launch a new action plan regarding the future of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, in which necessary steps should be taken to help refugees integrate and adapt to Turkey as well as to improve their living conditions.
The Syrian refugees who have taken shelter in Turkey to escape the ongoing civil war in Syria are suffering from significant problems ranging from the necessities of daily life to the lack of medical services and poor working conditions to the negative perceptions about them in Turkish society. Turkey is the country currently hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees. According to an earlier statement from Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmui, there are nearly 2.2 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. These refugees only have and”guestand” status, according to Turkish refugee law, thus they cannot obtain work permits and cannot use the public services provided for Turkish citizens.
Experts speaking to Todayand’s Zaman argue that the Turkish administration should understand that the refugees are not temporary, meaning that they will not return to their country even if the civil war there ends, and so the and”guestand” status is not a sufficient one for those refugees.
Journalist and writer Emine Uandcak Erdogan said that the government, since the beginning of the migration of Syrians to Turkey, has taken an attitude that the Syrian refugees would return to their country within a few months and so it did not need to make concrete plans for them as they were temporary. and”Society views the refugee issue as similar to that of the government. However, they fail to understand the refugeesand’ demand to live like a human, even if they ar temporarily. This issue of andlsquotemporarinessand’ prevents the Syrians from living their daily lives and delays their adaptation. Because the government does not give legal status to those refugees, society also sees the refugees as guests,and” said Erdogan, adding that she does not believe that the refugees in Turkey are temporary at all.
Saying that Syrian refugees are regarded as cheap laborers by some employers in Turkey, Erdogan added that the government needs to take some additional steps to help the refugees use the medical, educational and other public services and help them find jobs to make a living more easily.
Erdogan says the government is not willing to take the steps needed for better a integration of Syrian refugees, but adds that it can not delay doing so any longer. She reminds that some of the Syrian refugees have already started to establish their own working places, such as Syrian restaurants or schools in the cities that they live.
Erdogan also states that she does not approve of refugee camps, saying: and”Even if a camp has the best conditions, this is not a place in which a person can live long-term. Several families have to live together [in those camps]. andhellip Syrians who leave the camps take the risk of starving on the streets.and”
h2 and’Negative image of Syrians must be changed firstand’h2 Assistant Professor andOnder andcetin from the sociology department of Fatih University also gave comments on this issue to Todayand’s Zaman, arguing that the negative image of Syrian refugees in the Turkish public must be changed first.
Assistant Professor andOnder andcetin also from the sociology department of Fatih University spoke to Todayand’s Zaman as well, arguing that the negative image of Syrian refugees in the eye of the Turkish public must be changed first. He said the Turkish people have two feelings, and”pity and compassion,and” towards the Syrian refugees, but added that they also have a negative perception of Syrians because they believe that the unemployment rate is increasing due to cheap Syrian workers and because they feel that their daily life is being occupied by the refugees.
andcetin argues that the government should find good answers to the following two questions: and”Why do people in Turkey like Syrians?and” and”Why will they be pleased about the presence of Syrians in Turkey?and” Reminding that Germany convinced the public about the Turksand’ migration to their country in 1970s with the argument of and”we need labor force,and” andcetin says that Turks should also go beyond their feelings of and”pity and compassion,and” and argues that Turkish people should believe that the existence of Syrians in their country is beneficial for them.
Professor ibrahim Sirkeci from Regent University is another expert on the topic of migration. Speaking to Todayand’s Zaman, he says that the positive aspects of migrants should be highlighted. Sirkeci believes that human resources that know the Arabic language have emerged in Turkey due to the migration of Syrians to Turkey. and”Turkey needs such resources because it is a country that engages in trade with Arabic-speaking countries. The labor market will recognize and accept them. The government will be considered successful to the extent that it can prevent abuse in this area,andquot Sirkeci argues. He did, however, emphasize that because Syrians do not have work permits, the government cannot prevent the abuse of Syrians in the work sector.
Sirkeci says the public has security concerns regarding Syrian refugees, but argues that such concerns are baseless because the possibility of migrants being involved in criminal activity is much lower than the actual citizens of a country. and”This is reasonable. A migrant is a person who leaves his or her country because they do not feel safe. They are actually people that pose the least threat to security. Such security concerns originate from being unfamiliar with the refugees. If the Turkish people get to know the refugees better, their security concerns towards the refugees will be allayed.and”
h2 andlsquoThere will be no ghettoizationand’h2 Sirkeci said that because there is no ongoing integration process, the refugees are living in the suburbs of cities. He added that he does not believe this situation will turn to a ghettoization in the long-term because the Syrian refugees have a similar culture to Turkeyand’s.
Assistant Professor iener Aktandurk from Koandc Universityand’s Migration Research Center told Todayand’s Zaman that it is certain that the majority of Syrian refugees will live permanently in Turkey, thus a good integration plan is needed to help them.
When asked by who this integration process should be managed, Aktandurk said that the government should work to change the current negative perceptions against Syrians. Saying that Syrians are seen as and”objects of exploitationandquot by the Turkish nation, he said that the employers who hire the Syrians illegally should be given deterrent punishments.
Assistant Professor Murat Erdogan from Hacettepe University is the chairman of the Immigration and Political Research Center (HanduGO). Speaking to Todayand’s Zaman, Erdogan also said he believes that the Syrian refugees are permanent in Turkey, thus the government must generate successful integration policies for the Syrians.
and”However, it is clear that this integration process will be difficult to manage. Society is now in the stage of andlsquomeetingand’ with the problem. We still donand’t know what kinds of problems we will encounter during the process. Research recently carried out by HanduGO reveals that the Syrians are pleased with the process so far. I mean that the Turkish people have a strong tendency to accept the refugees. Syrians are still very timid. The process of transformation from the andlsquouest statusand’ to legal rights will not be easy for either side,and” Erdogan states. Erdogan says that the government should find social and educational solutions to problems that may emerge during the integration process.
Listing some suggestions for a successful integration process, Erdogan said that the necessary educational opportunities should be provided to Syrian children, that Syrians should learn the Turkish language for better communication with locals, that work permits should be given to Syrians, that the awareness of the Turkish public should be raised regarding the Syrian culture and that the and”guest statusand” should be removed.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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