Ambassador Demirer's Letter Regarding An Article At The Gdn
"I read the comments of Mr. Yenus S. about Turkey in his article entitled “Has Turkey gone so far?” on 16 March 2016. I regret and totally reject his manner and choice of words describing my country, and ask you to publish my letter on an exactly equal footing with the said article.
Syrian people have been suffering immense pain for long. Since 2011, almost 400.000 people died, 4.8 million people fled to the neighboring countries, besides 6.6 million were internally displaced.
As being a direct neighbor of Syria, Turkey has witnessed the plight of the Syrians closely from the first day on and been conducting its policies with a humanitarian approach. Today, Turkey hosts approximately 2.7 million Syrians, more than any country does in the world, and this number is increasing every day. For an easy comprehension, one should just remember that there are countries in the world whose populations are less than this figure. The number of Syrian babies born in Turkey has reached almost 152.000. This means that a new Syrian generation is being grown up in Turkey.
Such a huge number of population also means a big financial burden, increasing day by day, on Turkey which has already spent more than 10 billion USD from its own national budget for the Syrians while international community’s financial contribution for the Syrians in Turkey remained around 455 million USD so far.
Turkey, as a responsible member of the international community, will continue to help the Syrians, but it needs support of other countries too. Therefore, as a reply to Mr Yenus S’s question, Turkey has not gone too far, instead, she is already late for demanding a real burden sharing arrangement from our EU partners and international community.
Hosting 2.7 million Syrians means providing them everything including but not limited to food, accommodation, healthcare and education. Despite these concrete facts calling Turkey as “opportunist” is neither fair nor ethical, especially when it is so obvious that the EU money will be used with the consent of the EU for the needs of the Syrians in order to further alleviate their sufferings and improve their life conditions.
On this occasion, I should also put the record straight: Firstly, Turkey is a member of European family by nature. Those who challenge this fact should just refer to the history books. Secondly, Turkey-EU relations has legally been established with the signing of Ankara Agreement in 1963, not in 1989. And thirdly, Turkey has been constantly negotiating with the EU for the membership and visa free travel for Turkish citizens, the latter of which should have already been in force long before under the “pacta sunt servanda” principle.
Turkey has never made her cooperation in the refugee crisis conditional upon her membership to the EU. We rather ask the EU leaders to continue our membership process without interruption.
Whatever the result of this latest meetings, Turkey's humanitarian approach to the Syrians will not change. Because Turkey and Turkish nation have already been there for the Syrians and will continue to do so.
Beyond being the representative of my country, I am first and foremost a human. My humanitarian instincts would never allow me to live comfortably while my neighbor is in deep sorrow and suffering. With that in mind, I personally believe that the Turkish nation did everything it could to help our Syrian brothers and sisters. We do not expect praise for our efforts as we see it as our humanitarian responsibility. However, we expect to be treated fairly in this regard.
Therefore, the question should be rephrased and posted to its correct address wherever it is: “Why some countries and nations that once came together under a Union which happens to describe itself as the bastion of “human rights”, “human dignity”, “equality”, and “diversity”, are now disregarding these universal values and closing their borders to “humanity”?
These turbulent days that we are all going through will unfortunately be noted down as the “period of selective humanitarian approaches” of the history.
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkeyto the Kingdom of Bahrain"
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