Ehmed: Syrian refugees should be resettled in their hometowns

Nîhad Ehmed, a member of the Board of Directors of the Euphrates Region, slammed Erdogan's plan for return of one million Syrians refugees, warning, “If they are resettled in areas that do not belong to them, they will create a huge danger.”

Having intervened in Syria and Rojava Kurdistan with the help of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Al-Nusra and ISIS, the Turkish state has changed this policy and started to occupy Syrian lands beginning in 2016. The most important strategy of the Turkish state, which currently occupies a wide territory from Idlib to Afrin, from Girê Spî to Serêkaniyê, is to alter the ethnic, cultural and religious demographic structures of these regions.

Most recently, the AKP-MHP government announced an ambitious plan to encourage the return of one million Syrian refugees. The Turkish government is planning to relocate these refugees to the regions it has occupied in Syria, and thus to change the demographic structure of the region.

Nîhad Ehmed, a member of the Board of Directors of the Euphrates Region, told ANF that Turkey is currently pursuing a policy similar to the one in 1939 in Liva-i İskenderun (Sanjak of Iskenderun) in the areas it has occupied in North and East Syria. In 1939, the Turkish state occupied Iskenderun Sanjak, which was then a part of Syrian territory, employing various tricks and intrigues, and changed the name of the region to Hatay.


Ehmed pointed out that the Turkish state is pursuing the same Liva-i İskenderun policy in the regions it has now occupied. “The objective of Turkey with this policy is to annex the occupied regions completely to its borders." Ehmed pointed out that the one million Syrians that the Turkish state is planning to resettle in the occupied land are not the people of the region. This plan would lead to very dangerous consequences in the region, she warned.

“For centuries, the Turkish state has always attacked the Kurds wherever they achieved a status or became stronger. Because the Turkish state has based its existence on the denial and extermination of the Kurdish people. When the Syrian crisis started to spread from Dera to all the cities of Syria, the biggest problem of the Turkish state was the Kurds. Thus, the Turkish state had various mercenary groups in Syria attack the Kurds in order to . Turkey has continued its attacks in the same way so far,” Ehmed told ANF.


Referring to Erdoğan's remark “we will send one million refugees back to their places.” Ehmed said, “The question to be asked here is: who are these people to be relocated? Where will they return? This fact should be well known; a serious demographic change is taking place in the regions occupied by the Turkish state in Syria and North and East Syria today. In particular what happened in Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spi is well documented.”

Remarking that thousands of houses are being built and places are being prepared in Afrin, Ehmed noted that people from various places such as Aleppo, Homs, Idlib and Hema have been brought and resettled in Afrin. “The local people living in these places were displaced and forced to migrate by attacks, inhuman practices and many other methods. The one million Syrian refugees to be relocated are not the genuine owners of these lands.”


Ehmed stated that in order to relocate Syrian refugees to a country which has been devastated by a decade-old civil war, the political problem of this country must be resolved in the first place. She continued, “Secondly, economic problems must be resolved in order for people to continue their daily lives. Third, everyone must go back to their hometowns. However, Erdogan's plan for the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey is an election card he is playing for the upcoming election in 2023. None of these refugees are originally from these lands. The Turkish government wants to change the demographic structure completely and increase the number of foreigners there.”


Ehmed recalled that they have repeatedly called on international institutions to raise their voices against what the Turkish state is doing on these lands. “At the current stage, this policy of the Turkish state is very likely to bring about dangerous changes. If the Syrian refugees in Turkey are resettled in areas that do not belong to them, they will create a huge danger. These people will be a constant threat to stability and security in the region. Therefore, everyone, lawyers, international law organizations and the general public should now take this issue seriously and stop the Turkish state.”