Monday, August 1, 2016

Is xenophobia against Syrian refugees on the rise in Turkey?

Menekse Tokyay, "Is xenophobia against Syrian refugees on the rise in Turkey?"Al-Arabiya

Image from article, with caption: A Syrian girl begs in the street as another child sleeps next to her, in downtown Istanbul.

Metin Çorabatır - former spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency in Turkey, who currently heads the Center for Asylum and Migration in Ankara - says policies regarding Syrian refugees in Turkey have always been the focus of politics.

“Unfortunately, the Turkish government hasn’t elaborated those policies through countrywide discussions, and hasn’t informed Turkish citizens about the broader aspects of its refugee policy, which has directly increased social anger toward them,” Corabatir told Al Arabiya English.

With the latest discussions about prospective citizenship to Syrian refugees without addressing concerns, Turks are beginning to see them as a cultural, economic, social and political threat, he adds.

According to Corabatir, in order to overcome rising xenophobia against Syrian refugees, there is a need for public diplomacy, and the authorities should accurately inform Turkish citizens about why the country is hosting so many refugees, and why they need help.

“Syrian refugees in Turkey won’t go back to Syria anytime soon, so we should be prepared to handle them in a socially effective way,” he said.

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