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The humanity that dies every day on seas and the borders

It’s tremendously sorrowful and heartbroken to hear and read news about the refugees who perished in the Meditarian Sea, the Aegean Sea, Evros River, also known as Meriç, and now at the border of Turkey and Greece. 19 refugees, the freedom dreamers who seek a dignified life, were found dead in a Turkish village near the Turkey-Greece border on Feb 3, 2022. According to the google map, the Turkish village where people were found dead is around 3 hours away from the Evros river, a gate door for the European dream for the refugees.

UNHCR estimates that from January until the end of November in 2021, more than 2,500 people have died or gone missing at sea in their attempt to reach Europe through the Mediterranean and the northwestern African maritime route. The people who died in the Evros River and at the borders are not included. The number could exceed multiple a few times above what was mentioned above.

Notwithstanding, this is the most critical emerging issue of this new era, and it seems that the world is not ready for this crisis yet. Even though global human rights organizations campaign for the rights of refugees and force countries to be more open to refugees, refugees are still dying on the way to their freedom. For now, the west tries to keep the movement of the refugees under control and sees its solution in collaborating with Turkey, especially the Erdogan regime.

Is this strategy of the EU supported by the people in European countries? According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018 that included 10 European countries, the majority of the people who participated in the survey disapproved of how the EU deals with refugees in general. In Greece, Sweden, Hungary, and Italy, about eight in ten or more disapprove of how the EU is dealing with the issue.

Overall, there seems to be one person enjoying the level of a refugee crisis, unlike what the other people think about it, and that is Erdogan, the president of Turkey. EU leaders, including former German chancellor Angela Merkel, followed a sensitive and measured politics with the despotic Erdogan regime not to anger him to keep millions of Syrian and other refugees in Turkey. Even these politics and policies are against the values and principles of the European Union. Whenever Erdogan felt pressured both domestically and internationally, he used the refugee card as a thread to gain political advantages and change the situation for himself positively.

After the death of these innocent 12 refugees, we all remembered the above-mentioned political players with a negative image in mind as policymakers. We asked the same question of how they could undisturbedly play with the lives of refugees. On the other level, Suleyman Soylu, Interior Minister of Turkey, always approaches the refugee crisis politically and reduces it to political advantages. After the incident of the 19 people who were found frozen dead at a place in Turkey nearby the Greece border, he shamelessly wrote, “12 of the 22 migrants pushed back by Greek Border Units, stripped off from their clothes and shoes have frozen to death. EU is remediless, weak, and void of humane feelings. Greek border units thug against victims, tolerant towards FETO” on Twitter. Officials from Athens have immediately rejected the claims of pushbacks of their Turkish counterparts.

In Turkey, Syrians live with a great fear of being killed, beaten, and oppressed under any circumstances. a 19-year-old Syrian teenager was napped in his sleep and killed while Syrians’ homes were attacked and raided on Jan 12, 2022. And Turkish police did nothing but watch the tragedy. Without seeing any of these inhumane attributes of his fellow citizens, his police forces, and the brutal practices of his political party, things that Suleyman Soylu said for the EU countries would be meaningless and void. But one thing Soylu says at the end of his comment is horrifying and entirely insane.

With this opportunity, even in such situations, he discriminates against people and shows his anger assumably for why the same pushback was not practiced against the Gulenists. He is a good litmus paper that clearly shows how his party sees human rights and why all the opponents are in danger in Turkey. While he harshly criticizes the EU and Greece, he reveals the hidden self by making an ugly comment about the Gulenists and reflecting it with no shame. And this mentality has been ruling all the enforcement agencies since 2016 in Turkey.

EU block leaves the fate of the millions of people in the hands of the Erdogan regime and this lunatic interior minister of Turkey for short-term gains. Still, in the long run, these policies of the EU would turn into an uncontrollable situation. Now, hundreds of Afghani refugees from Iran enter Turkey daily; total refugee numbers increase every day. The Erdogan regime has no ability and capability to control and manage millions of refugees in the borders of Turkey. This puts the entire nation on an active fault line of intense tension that could cause fearful chaos and unrest in Turkey, which may cause the flocks of millions of people, including Turkish, Syrian, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghanis, Central Asians, and many other mixed nationals to the EU countries sooner or later. And I don’t think the EU sees the level of refugee crisis mishandled by the Erdogan regime at its door because of its short-sightedness.

EU must change its policies with the Erdogan regime and force him to normalize the country and turn to the rule of law immediately. This would not solve everything but greatly help the refugees’ lives and their standards to improve in a better way.

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Engin Yigit is a Politurco columnist, activist, and author. Follow him at @enginyigtt.

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