Turkey Overwhelmed with Growing Number of Refugees

A Syrian child stands in a tent on the side of a highway near Edirne, Turkey. A Syrian child stands in a tent on the side of a highway near Edirne, Turkey. © 2015 Osman Orsal / Reuters

20 June 2016
Unrest grows in Turkey as Syrian refugees seek better treatment

The ongoing troubles for Syrian refugees seem to only increase with time as now Turkey, one of the biggest centres for refugees is struggling to protect and provide for the over two million Syrians.  The host nation is having great difficulty in creating jobs and services for these refugees, who now find themselves in desperate need of help. While many are asking the EU to stop sending Syrian Refugees to Turkey the main dilemma resides in an agreement between Turkey and the EU, which went into effect in March 2016.

This agreement rules that Syrian asylum seekers in Greece can be returned to Turkey without a proper evaluation of their protection claims in their home nations since Turkey is considered the “first country of asylum” or a “safe third country”.

It is important to note that Syrian refugees are not given full refugee rights in Turkey.  This has impeded many Syrians from accessing education, health care and employment.  In addition, many refugees are forced to wait months to gain temporary protection, forcing them to live in constant fear.

Turkey has tried to alter these claims by stating it has spent US$10 billion on hosting Syrian refugees since 2012, and in more recent times it has dedicated US$500 million monthly to Syrian refugees.  Furthermore, Turkey maintains it has made ample efforts to ensure Syrian refugees the possibility of obtaining health care, education and applying for a work permit. The EU has also tried to mitigate suffering by promising more than US$3 billion, however only about US$200 million of that has been distributed so far, making it difficult for the refugees to see any real change in their lives.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has outlined how recent Turkish legislation has made it even more challenging for Syrian refugees to find work, putting families at risk of extreme poverty and child labour.  An assessment done by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in April 2016 concluded that 93 percent of the Syrian households interviewed were living  below the poverty line.

Most Syrian children have not been able to attend school in Turkey. The Turkish government has vowed to enroll 450,000 Syrian children by the end of this year, however only 325,000 of the 756,000 Syrian children in the country are currently enrolled in school.

The Turkish response to the Syrian refugee crisis is flawed on several fronts. It seems only a radical change in policy and attitude can give the refugees the proper protection and opportunity they so desperately yearn for.

 

To know more, read:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/06/20/eu-dont-send-syrians-back-turkey
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-greece-idUSKCN0Z316Z
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/future-development/posts/2016/06/20-syrian-refugees-work-permits-karasapan
http://news.trust.org/item/20160622115719-o824v

 

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