The closing panel of the “Refugee School 4” organised by International Refugee Rights Association has been held in Congress and Cultural Center of Istanbul University.
The moderator Atty. Cavit Tatli, and the panelists Prof. Ibrahim Kaya, Assoc. Dr. Murat Erdogan, Assoc. Dr. Yusuf Adiguzel and Atty. Ugur Yildirim, the President of IRRA, have had their speeches on refugee issues. After the speeches, students who successfully completed the school were presented their certificates.
Panelists, who have given a broad information to the participants, have stressed thatthe problem is not refugees but the incidents that cause to refugee flights.
Highlights from the speech by Assoc. Dr. Murat Erdogan:
“Refugees are now 4.5% of our population, however, the media is still not aware of how important is this. It only focuses on magazine side of the issue.”
“We have been proud of our open door policy but what we realized at the end of the day was that 1.5 million non-Syrians have entered the country. We did not mean to open our door to the whole world. The war in Syria, unfortunately, is one of the bloodiest war the world has ever seen.”
“Currently the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon constitutes 80% of the whole Syrian refugees. And now the policy is based on the temporariness of the situation. Everything is called “temporary”, but in reality, the facts are not temporary.”
“If the concept “Ensar” is a part of the Islamic culture, where are other Muslim countries?
“It has been six years since the war started but we have not so far been able to create a comprehensive asylum policy.This is the biggest handicap of the process.”
“Before Syrians’ flight to Turkey, there were 58.000 refugees in Turkey from 100 countries. Now 90.000 Syrians are born in only one year in Turkey.”
“While the number of refugees in other countries in the region decreases 500 to 1000 year by year, the number increases in Turkey.”
“The number was only 58.000 in 2011. But now the number of even non-Syrians is 500.000. We will be living together with 5 million Syrians.”
“Germany is the leading country in Europe, hosting 507.000 Syrians. It is followed by Sweden with 105.000. The number of refugees in other 9 countries is just around 10.000 totally.”
“We need to give rent allowance to refugees for two years and release them from the camps. It is less costly and provides a ground for integration.”
“610.000 children are in the school age. Only Urfa city needs 197 schools, however, just 14 schools will be established.”
“There are 108.000 foreign students and Syrians come second in this number.”
“Since an extraordinary strategy has not been designated, there is no institution to respond false perceptions.”
Prof. Ibrahim Kaya said “Human rights violations triggers refugeehood. There is a problem on the ground, however, it is not a “refugee problem”, it is the problem created by those who make people refugees.”
Assoc. Prof. Yusuf Adiguzelsaid “We have closed our eyes to refugee issues as a nation for 25 years. We have been considering that the problem is temporary and our country is a transit country. It is enough for us as individuals that our neighbour is a humanbeing, we can embrace him or her. We can treat him or her as a human-being. States, however, cannot meet its obligations by using “guest” narrative. They must provide, first, a statute and then necessary human rights standards.”
“It can be assumed that refugees can easily be integrated into the system by granting them citizenship. The most difficult part is, however, to achieve “social integration”. It is not an easy process particularly for the first generation.”
“As you all know, in Germany, it is now the fourth generation of Turkish people living in there and still one of the biggest problems in Germany is the fact that Turks could not be integrated, even though there is a ministry specifically for this issue.”
“A ministry for migration must definitely be established in Turkey as well. Turkey needs to integrate the refugees with the Turkish people. That is why “Refugee School” is so valuable. Today we will have 100 more people who are interested in these issues.”
“There are currently 170 associations established by Syrians. We do not know, however, that whether there is a human rights-based NGO among them. Since the state is considered to be sacred here, human rights activism is perceived doing a business against the state. That is why it is not fair to expect Syrians to be involved with human rights advocacy. Therefore, Turkish NGOs should provide not only humanitarian aid but also legal aid to Syrians in cooperation with Syrian NGOs.”