Compassion without fear: Syrian refugees

    The impact of the Syrian civil war created massive humanitarian crises and destabilized the current political structures in many countries around the globe. There are two main discourses competing in the emerging trend of political discourse.

    The first group’s aim is to gain popularity among the traditional voters by inflaming their patriotic and nationalist sentiments through the use of discriminatory and often hateful discourse. Contrary to this, the second group builds their politics around a discourse based on coexistence and integration.

    The current political outlook, nevertheless, indicates that despite of heavy propaganda by the first group, the latter still has much support from the public. For instance, the discourse in Turkey’s recent election was heavily influences by this particular debate.

    Since Turkey maintains an open-door policy and is the top refugee-hosting country in the world, the presence of more than 3.7 million Syrian refugees – according to the UNHCR – made this issue inevitable. As a result of these crises, the political arena has been greatly influenced and encouraged some parties that use the refugee crises as a tool to gain popularity.

    For example, a manifesto that was delivered by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the 2015 general elections was parallel to the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) discourse as well as showing an awareness about border security, housing for refugees, protecting them from labor exploitation in the job market and access to education. However, this manifesto has changed drastically since then and developed into an anti-refugee rhetoric in the 2018 presidential elections as well as the 2019 mayoral elections.

    *This article was originally published on Daily Sabah

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