TURKEY’S AIM IS NOT ONLY TO SAVE THE SYRIAN REFUGEES, BUT TO ESTABLISH PEACE ACROSS THE WORLD - Didem Rahvancı

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Clashes in Syria between Assad loyalists and the resistance are continuing uninterruptedly. Some 700,000 people have now left Syria, while those who are left face a huge struggle to survive. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees is trying to find the financial resources to cope with the crisis. A great many of the refugees are being housed in camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

The United Nations say they are concerned that the number of people leaving the country because of the fighting that has persisted for 2 years will rise to 1 million within four months, while the UNHCR says that 2-3,000 people are crossing to neighboring countries every day.

According to UN records, more than 20,000 people in Syria have died since the uprising against the government began in March 2011. Innocent women and children are being killed in bombing attacks on city centers every day. Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu revealed the seriousness of the situation by saying, “We will accept the humanitarian responsibility. But let it be known that the political responsibility lies with the UN Security Council, which has refused to take a decision, just like it did with Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite the death of 70,000 people in the Syrian crisis.”

Turkish Red Crescent President Ahmet Lütfi Akar stated that the number of people fleeing persecution in Syria and living in camps in Turkey was 180,000, and that they had welcomed 70,000 people on the border making their own arrangements or staying with relatives. The Turkish government is doing all in its power on the Syrian border and working at full capacity trying to meet the food, clothing and accommodation needs of around 200,000 Syrian refugees. As a result of the recent aid campaign right across Turkey, 1000 tons of flour was sent to the border region in 40 lorries.

While the resistance and security forces fight it out, Assad shows no sign of being willing to step down and has declared his determination to the whole world in the words “I am Syrian. I was born here. I will protect my people. And I will die here.” But Assad, who has inflicted such persecution on his own people, is ignoring the terrible fates of the Libyan leader Gaddafi and the Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak before him. Everyone knows that Bashar Assad is being maintained on a Russian base. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “If it is being said there can be no dialogue with Assad without him stepping down, then they need to understand he will not resign. Because we tried to talk him into stepping down, but he has not reached that decision in his own mind.” By that statement he shows he is trying to close the subject with a political reply.  

The only reason the attacks in Syria, the persecution of the public and detentions are not coming to an end is that the powers watching and supporting the conflict have been unable to find a politician to replace Assad. Their aim is to bring someone to power in Syria whom they can direct, just like Assad, and use as their pawn. Policies of taking power over other countries always end in thousands of people dying.

Turkey has always helped refugees in all the fighting in the Middle East, in the Iran-Iraq War, in the Gulf War and in the fighting between Israel and Palestine. It has always helped innocent people who have fled to Turkey from their own countries and struggled to survive there. It would be unbecoming of Turkey to turn away innocent civilians, women and children, and abandon them to death. Turkey has shown that this policy has not changed by meeting all the needs of refugee camps housing 200,000 refugees who have fled from Syria, despite the $200 billion impact on its own annual budget.

Turkey has made clear its own weight in all the transitions and events taking place in the Middle East as part of the mission that it  has for a long time assumed there. Prime Minister Erdoğan is the first foreigner to address the Iraqi Parliament, the first Sunni leader to visit the Hazrat Ali Mausoleum in Najaf, met with the Shiite religious Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf, and his is the first Turkish prime minister to meet with the head of the regional Kurdish administration in Arbil, Barzani.  All these actions are a result of the desire to complete that mission. Turkey is currently focused on shaping the future of the Middle East and uniting the whole Muslim world under a single umbrella. Turkey is the only country that takes every opportunity to speak of the dangers of sectarian conflict and division in the region and that warns all the countries of the region at every opportunity. That is because Turkey is the only country that does not benefit from the tensions and conflict among the domestic and external forces in the region.

Whatever Turkey did in the past, it will continue to do with even more sure steps, opening its doors to refugees massing on its border with even more protective behavior and active political policies. But building camps where refugees can be comfortable and providing them with food and housing is only a temporary solution. The important thing is to avoid such temporary solutions and prepare a temporary refuge zone in the wake of every war that breaks out in the Middle East. The important thing is to enable people in Libya, Syria, Egypt,  Palestine and other countries to live as they deserve, in a very free, democratic and modern environment, to ensure they are governed democratically and to put a halt to all the bloodshed in the Middle East. That is why Turkey has concentrated on being the leader of a union extending from Palestine in the Middle East to Indonesia in Asia. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu describes how Turkey has been focused on that aim for many years now: "Turkey’s aim for 2023 is to be a world state. We want to be a world state in 2023. We want to be a state that never makes do with second best and that puts those who go beyond proper bounds firmly in their place."

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2013-05-31 10:30:19

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