Will Erdogan betray the Syrians in Turkey?

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Turkish leadership under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on shaky ground because of the vast Syrian presence in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, along with growing public outrage over the economic crisis that the country is undergoing due to the government’s policies.

Today more than three million Syrians live in Turkey, according to the Turkish Immigration Service.

Turkish authorities give Syrian refugees a “kemalk,” which is a residence card for those living in the country. Woe to those who do not carry this document, or even forgot to carry it, as happened to a young Syrian, who in a widely circulated video told how he was tortured by Turkish officials and forcibly deported to Idlib in Syria.

In the past, Erdogan and his aides praised the Syrians in Turkey. Yassin Aktay, an adviser to Erdogan, spoke about the economic benefits of Syrians living in the country. Today, the Turkish community has turned its back on Syrians, for many reasons. Yasin Aktay, today is changing. And who isn’t!

“In the end, we are a democratic country that adheres to the views of its people,” Aktay said at a seminar organized by Tawasul Academy. He pointed to the Turkish opposition’s attacks on Erdogan’s policy regarding Syrians.

“The number of Syrian refugees has increased significantly in Istanbul, and the random way in which they work has become clear to the Turkish people,” he added.

Erdogan has pledged a new policy against Syrians in Turkey, including encouraging them to return to their country, deporting criminals and taxing them in hospitals.

And Turkey’s turbulent interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, at a recent Turkish coastguard rally, threatened Europe with a flood of immigrants that would cause Europe to collapse within six months.

Does this mean that Erdogan’s party is abandoning millions of Syrians in Turkey? Where are the Religious League and the historical relations that Erdogan has often talked about?

It is clear that Erdogan is “playing” with the Syrian issue in the stock market of political interests, not for Turkey but for his party!

He does not want to deport all Syrians, only the useless ones in the internal, regional and global political scheme of things.

Consider also the fact that some Muslim Brotherhood activists, including Egyptians, Saudis and Emiratis, have fled to Britain in particular and to some other countries because of their total lack of confidence in the fulfillment of the Erdogan group.

The author is a Saudi journalist. Follow him on Twitter @MAlthaydy

* From Asharq AlAwsat


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