Turkish authorities have increased raids as part of a new policy against refugees, mostly Syrians in the country’s largest city and business center Istanbul in an attempt to deport undocumented refugees.
Gunay Kubilay, a spokesperson from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) slammed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as it has recently started collecting refugees from Turkish cities and deporting them, critical online news portal Gazete Duvar reported on Friday.
“Once again, we have been witnessing the two-faced approach of the ruling AKP which were previously saying, ‘we are Ansar movement and welcoming our Syrian brothers and sisters with open arms’. What happened now? Are you done with the Syrian refugees?” said Kubilay.
Ansar are the local inhabitants of Medina city who helped the Prophet Muhammad and his followers the Muhajirun, when they emigrated from the city of Mecca by opening their homes and offering financial support.
HDP’s Kubilay emphasized AKP’s “insincere, selfish and unprincipled” political approach regarding the Syrian refugees.
“AKP’s lack of policy concerning the Syrians leads to increase the refugee hatred every passing day [in the country]. The ruling AKP continues to use the Syrians as a trump card, while Turkey is becoming no longer a safe country for refugees for which AKP does not care,” the spokesman claimed.
Syrian refugees started to arrive in Turkey in 2011 when a civil war broke out in their country between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and anti-government rebels.
As of June, the number of Syrians who have sought protection in Turkey stood at 3,657, 000 according to an official figure revealed by the Immigration and Integration Sub-committee of Human Rights Commission in the Turkish Parliament.
All Syrians seeking protection in Turkey are covered by the temporary protection regime. The regime enshrines a range of rights, services and assistance for the beneficiaries.
These include the right to stay in Turkey until a more permanent solution is found, protection against forcible returns to Syria, access to health, education, social assistance, psychological support and access to the labor market.
Turkish authorities have recently increased raids as part of a new policy against refugees, mostly Syrians, in the country’s largest city and business center Istanbul in an attempt to deport undocumented refugees.
In June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he believed the number of Syrians returning to their homeland would reach one million once a safe zone is established in northeast Syria along the shared border.
Turkey has negotiated the safe zone issue with the United States (US) which backs the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the area, an ally in defeating Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.
On June 4 last year, after US President Donald Trump abruptly announced his intention to withdraw US forces from Syria, the two NATO allies reached an agreement on a roadmap for the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij, the east of the Euphrates river, and the formation of a local civil administration.
Later, the US administration changed the course of its withdrawal plans after facing pressure from its European allies. A significant legion of US forces along with European troops, will lead the mission for the formation of a safe zone.
Turkey has long criticized the US administration, accusing it of stalling the process as no concrete steps have yet been taken on the establishment of a safe zone.
Turkish authorities have been determined to develop a safe zone in northern Syria for several reasons. One is the aim of relocating and accommodating some of the millions of refugees to northern Syria, and another is to contain the expansion of YPG militia in the region.
Last week, a series of talks over the latest developments in northern Syria were held between in Turkey with a US delegation led by Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey.
Turkish authorities have not been satisfied with the US proposal presented by the special envoy and signaled a possible military offensive unless an agreement on a planned safe zone in Syria could be reached with the US.