Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Time hangs heavy on Syrians in Türkiye ahead of elections

Members of the Turkish gendarmerie on the Syrian-Turkish border; Credit: Social media

The killing of Abdul Razzaq al-Qastal, a Syrian youth, by the Turkish gendarmerie on the Syrian-Turkish border sparked widespread anger in Syrian circles on social media and led to the arrest of two Syrian journalists (who were released later) by the Turkish authorities for discussing the issue on a Syrian media outlet operating in Türkiye.

The Syrian journalist Ahmed Rihawi (together with the head of the TV channel he worked for) was arrested in front of the headquarters of Orient TV in Istanbul after a verbal confrontation on air with a Turkish political analyst who filed a complaint against the journalist and the director of the TV channel under the pretext of insulting the Turkish state.

Syrians are now living their worst days in Türkiye since the beginning of their arrival as “guests” in 2011

More than four million Syrians live under temporary protection in Türkiye in difficult humanitarian and economic conditions which have become more difficult with the approach of the Turkish presidential elections and the growing racism against Syrians due to their use as an electoral card in the elections scheduled for May 2023.

Syrians are now living their worst days in Türkiye since the beginning of their arrival as “guests” in 2011 before the Turkish government invented a special law called “temporary protection” that put them in a tenuous position between two designations: neither guests nor official refugees with the same rights recognized for refugees around the world.

Syrians are afraid of the new instructions and restrictions imposed on them and of creating friction with any Turkish person or official body.

Some Syrians are afraid to send their children to school where they might be beaten due to the growing racism against them. They are afraid to answer the door when the owners of the houses they are living in knock on them lest they ask for another increase in the rent given the chaos in the real estate market and the lack of intervention of the government in Türkiye in favor of Syrians in such cases. Syrians are afraid of the new instructions and restrictions imposed on them and of creating friction with any Turkish person or official body.

By pressuring Syrians in Türkiye, the Turkish government seeks to make them return to the areas under its protection in northern Syria, or what is called in the media the “safe zone”.

But these areas remain unlivable, due to insecurity, the proliferation of weapons, factions, drugs, and Captagon, not to mention the lack of basic services and job opportunities.

Twelve years after the start of the revolution, Syrians find themselves between the fires of “racism” in Türkiye and the “absence of peace and stability” in northern Syria.

Some four million Syrians are currently languishing in this “insecure” area, living on relief, humanitarian aid, and remittances from relatives working in Türkiye, Europe, or elsewhere. Twelve years after the start of the revolution, Syrians find themselves between the fires of “racism” in Türkiye and the “absence of peace and stability” in northern Syria. Many of them are simply trying to escape towards a better life, as was Abdul Razzaq al-Qastal who was caught by the Turkish gendarmerie and beaten to death.

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