Refugees – How many has your country taken?

In case you missed it – International Migrants’ Day:

On International Migrants Day, Turkey hosts 4.5 million migrants

Refugees in Turkey

Semi-permanent refugee camp in Turkey

Turkey marked International Migrants Day on Dec. 18 as being the country that hosts the highest number of migrants, nearly 4.5 million, majority of whom are Syrians who have taken refuge in the country after escaping from the war in their homeland, according to the most recent statistics.

“As Turkey, we walk tall when it comes to the issue of migrants,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 18 at a meeting to mark the day. “Unfortunately, those states who define themselves as developed, modern, contemporary keep their heads down,” he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu released a message to mark the day, saying “we must protect and uphold the rights of all migrants and refugees. Our world has been on the move throughout history. And today is no different, as millions of people seek new homes away from their birth places.”

refugees in parks

Others live in parks – ok in summer

According to statistics released by the Turkish Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management, there are over 3.3 million Syrians registered with biometric IDs in Turkey, of whom 227,332 are living in 21 camps in 10 provinces, while the rest are living across all 81 provinces of Turkey. Because migrants have been using Turkey as a passage route to the United States and Europe, Turkish authorities have been struggling with human smuggling near its borders. A total of 2,407 human smugglers and its organizers have been detained over the past 11 months in operations carried out to prevent illegal migrants from illegally reaching European Union countries.

According to the United Nations, the biggest human migration since the Second World War is taking place today. Some 65 million have been forced to leave their countries over gun violence, while 230 million others have had to migrate for other reasons.

refugees heading for europe

Some head for Europe – does Europe want them?

UN: Cooperation needed

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres released a message to mark the day, saying that effective international cooperation in managing migration is necessary.

“On International Migrants Day, we recognize the contributions and celebrate the vitality of the world’s 258 million migrants. Evidence overwhelmingly shows that migrants generate economic, social and cultural benefits for societies everywhere. Yet hostility towards migrants is unfortunately growing around the world,” Guterres said, adding that “solidarity with migrants has never been more urgent.”

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration Louise Arbour also released a statement.

Libyan migrants 450

450 refugees rescued by Turkish ship off the coast of Libya in June this year

“Discrimination, persecution, degradation and death are the interlinked by-products both of prejudice and the failure to effectively manage the phenomenon of migration for the optimal benefit of both the migrant and their communities of origin and destination,” she said.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope a little of it trickles down to those 258 million “migrants”.

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7 thoughts on “Refugees – How many has your country taken?

    • Yes, Lara, quite a few are actually returning. However, I’d like to know more about the demographics of the refugees. Syria had a Sunni Muslim majority, but the country was/is governed by a hereditary dictatorship supported by the others (Christian, Shi’i etc). I suspect most of those fleeing were Sunni – and then we might ask, does Assad want them back?

    • A “hereditary dictatorship” struggling against ISIS, al-Nusra and Israel for the survival of secular, non-sectarian politics in its territory, that allows other parties in parliament and unions, has won elections under a new constitution transparently according to most observers, observes an official ideology in favour of egalitarianism and national sovereignty, and greatly modernised the country in the closing decades of the twentieth century, with main cities like Damascus acclaimed by travellers from around the world as highly cultured and cosmopolitan. Syria is among the few countries in the region where atheist authors get read, fer chrissakes! Like Chavez/Maduro and Erdogan, a relentless demonisation of the targeted regime throughout the media (relying on exaggeration, rumours or half-truths at best) is always the first step towards war.

  1. There are plenty of reasons why Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv would want the Assads on the chopping block:
    1. Political alliances with Venezuela, Belarus, Iran, Eritrea and the other rivals of the West.
    2. The country officially had almost no foreign debt before the war began in 2011, steadily refusing loans from the dominant financial institutions.
    3. Both humanitarian and military support for Palestinians in their struggles with the Israel since the 1960s.
    4. Economic policies in the past that were in betweem Scandinavian social democracy and socialist-influenced development in the style of the Warsaw Pact, even collaborating with the USSR in the Middle East and commissioning a dam (Tabqa) from them. The American business/financial communities felt “excluded” according to Bush-era texts.
    5. Plans to build oil and natural gas pipelines with Iran and Russia that would have rivalled Gulf kingdoms’ supply chains, with corporations like BP receiving no profits.
    6. As is the case with Turkey, Iraq and Iran, Israeli and Western-affiliated Kurdish militias desire to appropriate territory for a future Zionist-style “homeland” which would conveniently sell the aforementioned entities like Chevron and Shell really cheap hydrocarbons.
    7. The state press ruthlessly criticises and ponders conspiracy theories about the ruling classes opposed to the Baath Party in Syria.

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