Main opposition CHP Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu promised to send nearly 2 million Syrian refugees back to their hometowns if CHP wins elections

Main opposition CHP Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu promised to send nearly 2 million Syrian refugees back to their hometowns if CHP wins electionsimage

24 Apr 2015

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, in a speech in the southern province of Mersin where he introduced CHP candidates, pledged that the CHP would send nearly two million Syrian refugees who fled the civil war in their country back if it came to power with the June 7 general elections. In an attempt to garner more votes from citizens in Mersin, which has sees one of the highest influxes of Syrian across the country due to its proximity to Syria, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “[The CHP] will send our Syrian brothers back. We will say to them, ‘Sorry, but go back to your hometown.’ ” “We have humanity in our hearts. We love people. We respect people. This is our core ideology,” he said. Saying that everyone is happy where he or she was born, Kılıçdaroğlu said that the CHP would bring peace in the Middle East, which has been in chaos for years. Crossing the border barefoot, in wheelchairs or crawling while trying to carry their belongings – some heavier than their own weight – Syrians have been fleeing to Turkey for the last four years since the Syrian war began with calls for democracy and freedom in the country, but has since turned into a savage civil war killing thousands of people. The advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is triggering fears of even more displacement of the Syrian population. War-torn Syrian refugees in Turkey saw how life can be ruined by both civil war and the terrorism that has metastasized in the region. Agencies including the Turkish Red Crescent and the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) provided humanitarian aid for those who crossed the border as the number of refugees has reached nearly two million in Turkey. Even though some Turkish people have opened their doors and even shared their bread with Syrian refugees as a result of traditional hospitality, some complain of the high number of refugees, since those who fled their own country make things difficult for locals. Financially speaking, Syrian refugees who accept low salaries, or wealthy Syrians who rent houses and shops exacerbate problems for Turkish citizens. Locals in places where the number Syrian refugees is high have said that wealthy Syrian refugees undermine Turkish people’s businesses and increase living costs by paying higher rents for homes and shops than they are worth and displace Turkish people while other refugees beg and steal. “We still do the best we can since the only chance they have is us,” locals added. Referring to these problems, Kılıçdaroğlu pledged to send Syrian refugees back to their hometowns, the economies of which could take nearly 30 years to return to 2010 levels due to the devastation equaling World War II, according to a 2014 report by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. Kılıçdaroğlu’s latest election promise goes hand in hand with his 2014 remarks in a live interview with Ahmet Hakan on CNN Türk, when he asserted that to accept 1.5 million refugees into Turkey is treason. Kılıçdaroğlu corrected his remarks by saying that it is treason to actually produce politics that put the refugees in harsh conditions after Hakan asked: “Do we not allow those people who are in difficult conditions to come in?”