Early on the morning of June 17th, eight were found dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Turkey. En route to the Greek islands, the boat’s 40 passengers sailed in hopes of finding refuge. Though their exact destination was unknown, it is likely that these Syrian refugees were attempting to land in Greece with hopes of making their way to Europe. The boat sank just kilometers away from the Greek island Kos, which is one of the closest islands to Turkey.
Due to Turkey’s proximity to Syria, it has become the country that most refugees have turned to in their search for safety. It is often used in hopes of being a transit country with the eventual destination in Europe, whose countries offer political stability and successful economies, which are an obvious draw to refugees. Despite the long-term goal being only to pass through Turkey, many refugees are left with no other option but to stay there. Immigrant integration into Turkey has proven to be challenging as it leads to ample social, cultural, and economic changes.
In discussing Turkey’s ongoing attempts towards integration, the Center for American Progress says “the issue of their remaining (Syrian refugees) is politically explosive in Turkey, and the Turkish government has been hesitant to acknowledge publicly that it foresees the long-term integration of the refugees into Turkish society”. Though a sensitive subject to most Turks, it has become clear that their government is working towards accepting the refugees that come in.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees speaks on Turkey’s mass refugee crisis, saying, “Turkey continues to host the largest number of refugees worldwide…Turkey currently hosts over 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees along with over 365,000 persons of concern from other nationalities.” Turkey has been strenuously working in order to enact effective laws and reform policy that would accommodate for those coming in. However, due to the limited capabilities and the sheer numbers coming into such a country, they are unable to fully meet the demands of the millions of refugees.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis has grown consistently worse since its beginnings in 2011, and neither the Syrian government nor any global superpowers have yet to find any solution. As long as the situation in Syria continues to deepen, I do not see crises like these ending anytime soon. Turkey, Greece, and other surrounding countries have been working adamantly towards a solution since the crisis was at its worst in 2015. The tragedy of these refugees is not an isolated event, and, unfortunately, many do not survive as they subject themselves to danger while searching for safety and security.
It is my hope that events like these spark global interest of this problem and bring awareness to what the root cause of these problems are. It is easy to point fingers at the refugees who subject themselves to danger but few care to ask what life was like for them before that caused them to take this risk. The death of refugees is happening worldwide as they take the usually treacherous journey to secure a better life for themselves.
Immigration and emigration are not foreign concepts, they have been a part of human history since the beginning of civilization. Yet our global shift towards unacceptance and direct refusal of those in need is disheartening. Sentiments like these influence people’s perspective and adapt countries culture, which unfortunately leads to tragedies like the one that occurred.
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