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10.06.2021

ATTİTUDES OF COUNTRİES TOWARDS REFUGEES

Countries are experiencing some difficulties because of the increase in refugees. However, some countries take different legal or illegal attitudes to avoid or stop these troubles. Therefore some countries treat refugees and asylum seekers unfairly.

Greece, one of the Balkan countries, used physical violence against asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants who came to it for shelter in the past months, confiscated their belongings, put them on a boat and sent them to Turkey illegally. Mitarakis, Head of the Greek Migration Service, denied these reports, but news channels proved the accuracy of the news by interviewing citizens who had experienced these moments and reached Turkey. It was even stated that Frontex, the European Union Border Protection Agency, was aware of the situation, was nearby during some events, but did not intervene in the situation. In a report by the human rights organization Mare Liberum, it stated that the number of asylum seekers that Greece sent back to Turkey last year was 9,798 . In addition, in the report prepared by using witnesses, it was emphasized that the Greek Coast Guard was at the forefront of systematic and illegal repatriation actions, but ships under Frontex and NATO command were also involved.

Spain-Morocco relations, which have been experiencing serious tensions recently due to the Western Sahara problem, turned into a diplomatic crisis when the left coalition government in Spain brought Ibrahim Ghali, the Secretary General of the Polisario Front, where Morocco has been at war for 45 years, secretly to the country on 22 April owing to the covid-19 disease and taken him to a hospital in the city of Logrono. This problem is exacerbated by the influx of irregular migrants from Morocco to Spain. Moreover, Morocco has made it clear many times that the EU will not assume the role of the gendarmerie. Even though Morocco and the EU are strategic partners in most areas, Morocco remains ambitious in this regard. And the EU supports Spain on immigration.

In the statement written by the Moroccan Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs, thousands of irregular migrants have been sent back to the country so far as a result of joint mechanisms established with European states, especially Spain and France.

Another country we will consider is of course Turkey. Until now, Turkey has been vilified by Greece but now Greece defines Turkey as a safe country. At first, Greece frequently applied to the European Union, claiming that Turkey was a threat. Greece was expressing its discomfort with the political relations it established in the region at every opportunity. But now the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Migration has announced that despite all the accusations against Turkey, Turkey provides humanitarian conditions to refugees and that refugees must apply for asylum in Turkey before arriving in Greek territory. Furthermore, Greece said it could seek international protection.

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Greece, known for its anti-immigration, came to the fore with the 3.7 billion dollar digital barrier built on the Turkish border recently. Thanks to this system, which has cameras and sensors, works with artificial intelligence and has a surveillance network, it will be able to use sound cannons that can send deafening sounds from a long-range acoustic device towards the Turkish border.

Turkey, on the other hand, hosts many refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants due to its geopolitical position.In consequence of civil war which began in Syria in 2011 , Turkey has accepted mass of refugees,which has not been seen throughout history,with temporary protection status. As a matter of fact, about a month after the people started to revolt in Syria, the first influx of Syrian refugees took place in Turkey. Ankara-the capital of Turkey- declared that an open door policy to Syrians would be implemented from the very beginning. However,the war is still going on today. And this situation caused some economic, social etc. problems within the country. According to May, there were a total of 3 million 672 thousand 646 Syrians in the country but the number of illegal arrivals is unknown.

And finally Denmark started to remove temporary residence permits of 189 Syrians for the first time. Because according to the Danish Government, it is safe for Syrians to return home now. The truth of the matter is that the Danish authorities made this decision after a document prepared last year showing that the security situation in some parts of Syria has improved significantly. This decision was opposed by Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council.

In brief, in order to protect their own states, countries repel refugees in various ways, bully the refugees and send them to another country, or try to send them into a war that has not yet ended. Conversely some countries embrace the excluded refugees and try to help them as much as they can.

Fatmanur Uğur