Turkey’s economic crisis triggers racist acts – Middle East Monitor

In Turkey, the release of the short film “Silent Invasion”, commissioned by the leader of one of the opposition parties, the Victory Party, Umit Ozdag, circulated widely on social networks last weekend and been watched by over 2 million viewers. However, this incited the masses against the refugees and provoked the questions: “Are the Syrian refugees the cause of the current economic crisis in Turkey and have they been used as tools of dirty politics to win the next elections in 2023? ?

According to a recently published book titled “The Wealth of Refugees” published by Oxford University Press, the rise of populist nationalism has undermined the political will of wealthy countries to accept migrants and asylum seekers. Yet the author argues that people who migrate for safety also contribute to their societies and can play a huge role in their economies. They and their children toil, learn, create and invest. Therefore, the more policies are designed to unlock their potential contribution, the more material benefits they bring to the places they go. This book explains that xenophobia or anti-refugee backlash is not the fault of refugees. Instead, they stem from a lack of policies. Alexander Betts, the author, explores ways in which societies could empower refugees rather than push them to the margins, and offers practical solutions that have been proven to benefit refugees as well as countries of hospitality and business.

In the strong immigration systems of countries like Germany and the UK, there is no reason to be afraid of potential new immigrants, especially if they are given identity cards and helped to s set up with their own business.

READ: Turkey won’t deport Syrian refugees, Erdogan promises

Refugee crises are always powerful political tools for politicians. For example, in 2018 Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won the election demanding a quota for migrants in the EU.

In 2015, I visited the Greek island of Lesvos as a journalist to get a first-hand view of the refugee crisis there. I visited refugee camps in Germany and Greece, and slept with refugee women in the same tents. My understanding of the refugee crisis in Turkey grew from these experiences. I realized that Europe was denying those who were most vulnerable and in need of rescue, putting up obstacles, frustrating and pushing refugees away for political reasons. What we witnessed in Turkey is the same now.

Turkey, as a country that hosts refugees more than its capacity, will continue to protect its most cherished values ​​- respect for human rights, human dignity and freedom of expression. The opposition party in Turkey should not only criticize the current government for not taking in refugees, but for improving and introducing more sustainable integration policies. If a refugee child still does not carry an identity card, it is the failure of the government and not the failure of the voters or other civilians.

Unfortunately, in Turkey today, polarization is created to win seats for the next elections. This only causes a chaotic environment in the country. Young Z generations in Turkey suffer many traumatic setbacks due to this polarization. Doctors are leaving the country due to lack of hope and economic crises. The solution to economic crises should not be sought in refugee reception policies.

Another important issue for which opposition groups criticize the current government is owning real estate to obtain residency or citizenship in Turkey. Turkey grants citizenship to foreign investors who invest $250,000 in real estate or any property since 2012. Granting citizenship to refugees from Syria and Afghanistan is gradually becoming a contentious issue in Turkey, as a leader of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party. , Kemal Kilicdaroglu, openly accuses President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of naturalizing asylum seekers and allowing them to vote so that he can keep his post as president.

READ: EU protection for 267,000 asylum seekers in 2021

However, this criticism of the opposition party must be settled by another solution, instead of threatening to expel the Syrians. Erdogan announced this week that cheaper housing loans would be given to those who convert their foreign currency savings into Turkish lira or sell their gold to the Central Bank for the purchase of houses worth up to TL 2 million. (about $130,000). This short-term solution will neither solve the monetary or housing crisis, nor the anti-refugee sentiments. Opposition parties must find a solution to motivate citizens not to live in big cities. To succeed economically, small towns and farmers in Turkey also need to be supported financially. Agriculture is the engine of any nation. This must be the demand of the opposition to the government.

In the same vein, Turkey’s annual inflation has risen to 70% this year due to rising energy, food and housing prices. Obviously, this figure cannot be fixed overnight by blaming refugees or releasing films that depict Turkey as a Syrian-dominated country. These acts of provocation can only create divisions between citizens. As Zygmunt Bauman, one of the world’s greatest sociologists, states in his book, Liquid times, “When the elite pursues its goals, the refugees pay the price. For Bauman, these strategies of making refugees the black sheep are always ineffective, because they do not address the root cause of our anxiety, “which is the fact that our local institutions can no longer provide us with security. in the face of the instabilities caused by advanced global capitalism. Instead, these strategies end up increasing the amount of anxiety, fear, and segregation and ultimately serve to justify our paranoia.”

The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

Sharon P. Juarez