Erdogan blames colonial mindset for turning Mediterranean into refugee graveyard  – Middle East Monitor

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the colonial mindset for turning the Mediterranean Sea into a giant refugee graveyard. Erdogan made his comment on World Refugee Day.

He pointed out that people are forced to migrate due to different reasons, from terrorism, conflicts and civil wars to hunger and drought, especially in Turkiye’s regional hinterland. “The number of displaced people in the world is now nearly 110 million and 35.3 million among them have been forced to migrate, while 62.5 million people are internally displaced.”

Ankara’s position on irregular migration and refugee issues remains unchanged, said the Turkish leader. “We believe that it is a global issue while focusing on Turkiye’s security and protecting people’s lives and dignity. Our nation has embraced those who fled oppression for centuries without discrimination, and exhibited the same conscious stance in the face of crises in our region, from Syria to Ukraine.”

Erdogan's win in the presidential election provides a lifeline for refugees in the region - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Erdogan’s win in the presidential election provides a lifeline for refugees in the region – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Turkiye, he added, has always fulfilled its humanitarian duty, its duty as a neighbour. “It supports projects for refugees’ safe, voluntary and dignified return to their homelands and implements projects to ensure it.”

Expressing his country’s rejection of Islamophobia and xenophobia, neo-Nazi ideology and hate speech, Erdogan noted that these have spread to other communities just like poison ivy after taking root in Western countries. “We see these pathological trends, which do not consider anyone other than those from their own race, culture and faith to be a human being, as a threat to humanitarian values and the common future of humanity.”

He blamed “the contemptuous mindset tracing its roots to colonialism” for turning the Mediterranean into a refugee graveyard. “The humanitarian tragedy in the Aegean Sea last week, where hundreds of innocent people, mostly children, died, is the latest and most shameful example of this mindset.”

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The Turkish president urged the international community, “especially those countries which try to teach human rights and democracy to everyone except themselves, to shoulder their responsibility in this refugee crisis.”

In order to resolve the issue of refugees, migration and forced displacement, concluded Erdogan, we need to eliminate its causes. “The Global Compact on Refugees which was affirmed by the United Nations with Turkiye’s active contribution in 2018 is important. We hope that World Refugee Day will help raise global awareness, prevent further tragedies and solve the problems of refugees who struggle to hold on to life in different parts of the world.”

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