Today, Syria is the first place that comes to mind as the bloodiest region on earth. In the five-year-long civil war, more than 500,000 innocent people were martyred for the whole world to see. In a short period of time, a country of 22 million fell to pieces. There are still more than 200 belligerent groups, large and small, operating within the country.
Life is extraordinarily tough for the surviving Syrians. Five million Syrian citizens have been displaced within the country and almost the same number of people have sought refuge in other countries. The ones who remained in the country are trying not to become the target of bullets, bombs, and rockets while struggling for life without food and water in devastated cities.
The fact that today Turkey is the country which has helped Syrian refugees the most is very well-known by the global public. Three million Syrians live in Turkey and only one-tenth of these refugees live in camps. The majority of the Syrian refugees in our country have settled into cities, so much so that Syrian districts have been formed in the big metropolitan areas. Turkish has become the mother language for the majority of Syrian children and youth. For five years, no unfavorable social incidents have occurred; this is an adaptation that sets an example to the entire world. The anger and violence seen in some countries against Muslims - with whom they have already been living together for years - is a cause of shame for Western society. Many analysts believe that the fracture brought about by these social problems will eventually lead to fragmentation within European societies.
Turkey helps the oppressed on the other side of the border as well as those in its own land. For over two years, by means of the Aleppo Route called the Humanitarian Corridor, food and clothing and health equipment have been provided to the besieged city of Aleppo and the surrounding settlements. Turkish NGOs, the Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) continuously serve hot meals and provide health services in the region. By means of tents, people who have lost their homes are provided accommodation.
Turkey’s efforts to achieve stability in Syria are not limited to these. The Turkish Army supports the operation launched by the Free Syrian Army in northern Syria last week. The purpose of the operation is to form a peace corridor beginning from Jarabulus and continuing towards the south along the Euphrates River. By establishing a buffer zone after clearing the region from conflicts, it is a priority to establish centers for new Syrian refugees to take shelter in. Here it should be noted that under all circumstances, I am always against military operations that put people’s lives in danger.
The Turkish Red Crescent provides aid to each point that has been liberated through Operation Euphrates Shield. Jarabulus in particular, scores of residential areas have started to receive aid. In the center of Jarabulus, five thousand people are served meals three times a day. On-going military operations are carried out in coordination with the humanitarian aid operation. Also, many Turkish politicians have stated that they will spend Eid al-Adha [the Feast of Sacrifice] in Jarabulus. Speaking from the border, the President of the Turkish Red Crescent, Dr. Kerem Kinik, said that they have laid the groundwork that will supply aid to even more people as the aid corridor continues to be opened. The President of AFAD, Mehmet Halis Bilden, stated that camping equipment is kept ready for providing shelter for five thousand people on the border in case of an immediate migration wave, and that they keep 40,000 spaces available in the camps behind the border. As of today, 20 truckloads of humanitarian aid material are being distributed in Syria every day.
Government agencies and aid organizations are not the only sources of humanitarian aid provided to Syria. From all quarters of Turkey, truckloads of aid material are provided to the region. Tons of food and clothing are delivered to the needy by means of campaigns launched by municipalities, local newspapers, and even a few humanitarians who got together for helping Syrians. Under the coordination of AFAD (the institution assigned by the Turkish government for delivering aids) on the Syrian border, this aid from different channels is put together and delivered to where it is needed. The Turkish people display a perfect humanitarianism through a spirit of mobilization. AFAD has started to provide health service by establishing field hospitals. Mobile health care teams readily wait with the necessary equipment for emergency situations.
For many years, Turkey has been lending a friendly and brotherly hand to Syrians and supported its Syrian brothers and sisters when they were in need and unconditionally protected the innocent. For that reason, the local community ebulliently welcomed Turkish soldiers with open arms even though they came to their region by a military operation.
Certain countries in the West, however, have been undertaking military operations in Syria for five years with the state of the art weapons. The US F22s and A10 Thunderbolt aircrafts laid waste to the country through air bombardments. French, British, Russian and US aircraft carriers and warships are still anchored off the coast of Syria. Antitank missiles and heavy machine guns were included in the Syrian Civil War. So far, neither a definitive result nor a peaceful solution has been achieved through these operations lacking affection, friendship, brotherhood, and humanistic purposes. It is quite obvious that benefit-oriented selfish policies that are devoid of compassion have no use other than making the world a more dangerous place.
For the Middle East, the center of the world for five thousand years, military methods have and will never be able to provide a solution. The people of the Middle East share millennia of common history as well as enjoying religious and cultural unity. Only through these beauties in common it is possible to provide instant solutions to the problems in the region.
What needs to be done is quite obvious: Citizenship rights to be conferred on our Syrian brothers and sisters will accelerate their adaptation with the society they live in. It will also help them meet their basic needs, overcome any difficulties in their business lives, and allow them to access health care and educational facilities. On the other hand, important duties also fall to the spiritual leaders, politicians and clergyman of the Middle East. One of the best ways for the region’s salvation is to carefully avoid speeches provoking hostility, hatred and enmity, and adopt a tone of love, unity, brotherhood, sympathy, and peace culture.
We are all responsible for leaving our children and grandchildren a world much better than we have. Otherwise, in the Presence of God and in the face of history, the blame of this bloodshed will be on those who planned and perpetrated it, yet more importantly, on those who kept their silence against the atrocities.
Adnan Oktar's piece in New Straits Times & Daily Mail: