ALI – Syrians in Turkey

Syrians in TurkeyThe sun rises from the Syrian hills located at the other coast of the Orontes (Asi) River in the Kuseyr region of Hatay.In this region, Sunni, Alawite, Christian, Arab and Turkmen villages are intertwined like patchwork.

The villages are interspersed among the olive groves at the other side of the Orontes are no different from their Turkish counterparts. The civil war in Syria, which President Bashar al-Assadand#39s family has opted to recast as a Sunni-Alawite conflict, has had an economic as well as security-related impact on Hatay.

Blasts that claimed the lives of 53 people in the ReyhanlI district of Hatay on May 11, 2013 were most likely masterminded by those who aimed to trigger chaos in Hatay similar to that in Syria A brief glance at the identity of the victims and assailants clearly shows that the plot was a great one.In the bazaar of Antakya, Turkish and Arabic intermingle.

In recent months, Arabic started to be heard not only in provinces near the Syrian border such as Hatay, but also in other cities, such as Istanbul. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey is said to have exceeded the 1 million mark.

The real figure might be higher and it is obvious that it will continue to increase in coming months. All indicators imply that there is no will or conditions in sight to put an end to the Syrian crisis in the short term Rather, many factors suggest that this crisis has the potential to last longer, like the Lebanese crisis.

International or regional powers are helpless and not likely to manage this crisis. Unlike other countries, Turkey has a common border with Syria that is 900 kilometers in length and has received immigrants from Syria So far, Turkey has provided temporary camps and settlements for Syrians seeking refuge with Turkey, believing that they will remain there only for a andquotshortandquot period.

We can say that the world came to realize Turkeyand#39s real capacity for managing a refugee crisis for the first time with the Syrian crisis. Despite this success, we need to revise our andquotuestandquot policy targeting Syrian refugees immediately.

By andquotensuringandquot that he was elected to office once again, Assad closed the doors on one of the democratic solutions discussed during the Geneva summit. It is obvious that the Assad family, which is primarily responsible for the bloodshed in Syria, will be remembered as Adolf Hitler is.

Having taken a path of violence with the aim of maintaining the power and interests of a small class of ruling elites instead of safeguarding peace by paving the way for democracy, like Tunisia, Assad triggered bloodshed in the country.Like Hatay, Syria is a religious and ethnic patchwork of Sunnis, Alawites, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, etc.

, and it is virtually impossible for Syria to restore social peace with its own dynamics. Peace cannot be restored as long as Assad is in office, and there is no power that can force Assad to resign.

Moreover, Assad is currently busy trying to prove for the West that he is the lesser of two evils. In all respects, it will take years for peace and political stability to be restored in SyriaIt would be naive to expect Syrian refugees in Turkey to return to their homeland immediately.

Assad has destroyed major Syrian cities that formed the backbone of economic activity in the country — such as Hama, Homs and Aleppo — and has forced millions of people to migrate to other cities within the country. In the best-case scenario, economic recovery in Syria will take decades.

Given these facts, it is very likely that Syrian refugees in Turkey will stay in Turkey for good. For this reason, Turkey must abandon its andquotuestandquot policy and take measures to facilitate the social integration of Syrians, and focus on emboldening its domestic security.

We need to ensure the integration of Syrian children into our education system and create jobs for refugees to support their adaptation to economic and social life. Forcing Syrians to work as cheap labor will have a negative effect on wages, making these people a source of social tension.

Recent incidents in Gaziantep should be thought provoking for us. Turkey should endow these people with permits for residence and work, preventing them from being used by shady forces.

These people will stay here, and we can save them with correct social, education and employment policies, not with security-oriented policies.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman