In the same way that Jews fleeing Spanish persecution fled to the Ottoman Empire 522 years ago, so our Syrian brothers fleeing persecution by Assad are seeking refuge in Turkey today. In the same way that the Ottoman Empire showed it was on the side of the wronged, so Turkey is showing the same thing. The reason for the helping hand extended to the Jews by the Ottoman Empire was the lofty moral values it took from its faith, and the reason for the help Turkey is today extending to our Syrian brothers is again its lofty values.
Twenty-two refugee camps have been set up for our Syrian brothers in 10 Turkish provinces: Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Osmaniye, Adıyaman, Malatya, Adana and Kilis. As of February 2014, these are home to some 220,000 Syrians. The total number of refugees in Syria is approximately 700,000. 2
Turkey has to date spent some $2.5 billion on our refugee brothers. The scale of Turkey’s spending can be better understood by bearing in mind the very small amount of assistance that has arrived from the U.N., roughly $130 million.3
Efforts are made in the camps to meet all our Syrian brothers’ humanitarian needs. In the same way that essential needs such as food, health, heating and communications are met, efforts are also being made for children to continue their education and to become productive individuals through vocational courses. Educational services are being provided to some 60,000 Syrian students, and various vocational courses have so far been provided for some 7,000 Syrian refugees.4
In addition to Turkey, there are 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 700,000 in Jordan, 200,000 in Iraq and 70,000 in Egypt, with a total of 2.5 million people with refugee status. The number of internally displaced persons (IDP) is estimated at 7 million.5
The country with the best conditions among those housing Syrian refugees is without doubt Turkey; it has recently been praised for this in the world press. An article by Mac McClelland of the New York Times was titled ”How to Build the Perfect Refugee Camp.” That piece described the facilities in a camp built by the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency in terms of high praise.6 That camp, worthy of praise as the best refugee camp in the world, is of great importance in showing the importance and care that the Turkish people – and our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in particular – attach to our Syrian brothers.
Yet the world is largely unmoved by the slaughter in Syria. The Geneva I and II talks regarding Syria, where between 60 and 100 people are estimated to die every day, came to naught at reaching a solution and broke up with no resolution being made.
Syrian refugees are keenly aware that the world is uncaring of their plight. Western countries are helpless in the face of proposals from the U.N. being vetoed time and time again by Russia and China and that allows Assad to continue the slaughter.
The attitude of some Islamic countries is no different to that of the West. The political aspect of the situation is becoming more complex by the day; as different groups seeking to take advantage of the turmoil in the country are added to the forces fighting Assad, that turmoil continues to worsen and hastens down a road where no solution is possible.
The social liberation movements that began with the Arab Spring in Tunisia in 2010 brought neither democracy nor greater freedom to Arabian countries. Thousands of people lost their lives in civil conflicts. More than 130,000 people are estimated to have died in Syria alone. 7
On the other hand, Muslim leaders in some Islamic countries are merely trying to ensure the continuity of their power or to enrich themselves even further; they take no part in sharing the sufferings of Muslims or looking for a solution to them. Wealthy people in some countries spend their wealth on their own interests. Some scholars produced by Islamic countries encourage sectarian disputes, sometimes in order not to lose the positions they enjoy and sometimes upon being forced to by the ruling power in their countries.
So how long can this situation last, and what must be done?
For the current situation to continue means the shedding of more Muslim blood and even more suffering, and this cannot go on. Islamic countries must come together as soon as possible under the roof of an organization like the EU and choose a leader for themselves; then they must sit down around that leader and find solutions to all the problems. In that way, they must put an end to all bloody conflicts among themselves based on differences of nationality and sect. Unless this is done, the oppression of Muslims will not end and, may God forbid, will even grow worse. Such a union is one that both Western countries and Russia and China will encourage because Western countries feel threatened by radical Islamic groups; this union will entirely do away with that perception. In that way, peace and tranquility will come to Islamic countries, and healthy relations can be established with other nations.
The country at present most aware of the union we are discussing is Turkey. The AKP government, and particularly Prime Minister Tayyip Erdo?an and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu, are taking very conscious and significant steps toward the establishment of an Islamic Union. The concern shown for our Syrian brothers is the result of that consciousness. The Turkish nation wishes to produce a structure based on a concept of Muslim fraternity and unity, not national or ethnic superiority, for which reason Turkey is trying to use all its means to watch over all Muslims in the world. This consciousness will clearly continue even more strongly in the future. Other Islamic countries must contribute to Turkey’s efforts and strive to establish such a union.
 Mazlumder Türkiye’de Suriyeli Mülteciler Raporu 2013
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