Claim: Turkey discriminates among refugees

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Claim: Turkey discriminates among refugees

2015-12-17 04:15 GMT
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Goksun Yazici, Turkish writer, claims that Turkey discriminates against refugees on religious grounds and admits only Sunnis

Goksun Yazici, Turkish writer

Goksun Yazici, a Turkish writer, claimed in an interview she gave the Diken news portal on 17 October 2015 that Turkey discriminates against refugees on religious grounds and admits only Sunnis.

We interviewed two people who have vast experience on the region and asked about the claim. The first is the Syrian National Council ex-chair George Sabra. He is Christian. He was surprised to hear about the claim and asserted it does not correspond to facts, and that Turkey hosts many refugees without any religious or ethnic discrimination. He said that such a claim serves no end and damages the image of Turkey. In Sabra’s own words, he said:

“Who claims that Turkey discriminates? No such thing is possible. It is irrelevant to the reality. Nobody on the borders asks refugees about their religion. Turkey prioritizes humanitarian aid and have opened her doors to everybody. Among those groups which entered Turkey there are Alevis, Yazidis, and Christians. Chances are that the media haven't covered the presence of non-Muslim refugees in Turkey, but they live in Turkey anymore and in pretty well conditions. It is wrong to say that Turkey makes religious or ethnic discrimination.”

The second person we contacted is a Yazidi journalist, Ster Hakim, who is an Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent. She also expressed that a lot of Yazidi Kurds emigrated to Turkey during the Shingal affairs, that she has followed the wave of emigration closely and has not witnessed any discriminatory practice as claimed.

Also, Verda Ozer from Hurriyet Daily News wrote that she visited an Armenian village in Turkey, Vakifli, to interview two Armenian women who have fled the Syrian border town of Kasab. Regarding the accusation that Turkey was involved in the attack on Kasab, Ozer says: "When I asked the villagers about the allegations, they replied by asking, 'Then why would Turkey host and protect us?'"

A report published by Asylum and Emigration Research Center (IGAM) showed that 30,000 Yazidi people are being hosted in Turkey and they are not thinking of going back to Shingal even though the place is cleared of ISIS.  

Today, nearly 2.7 million Syrians with diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds live in Turkey under the “temporary protection status”. Turkey is the largest refugee hosting country in the world.