Migrating and remaining refugees - AYŞE BÖHÜRLER

Migrating and remaining refugees

Neither bad weather conditions nor tight security measures, nor the bargaining power of the European countries could prevent migration to Europe. However, Syrians are not the only ones on this train. Many people from Morocco, Iraq and Afghanistan want to try their fortune in Europe with a story of victimization. They have a single goal and that is a future in a safe country.

The refugees' migration paths are very long, enduring and risky.

It requires deep consideration to witness the march of the peoples of the Middle East without turning away in our testimony of this era. Every time I film the journey of the refugees on their way, I see that their numbers are increasing.

Data supports this too. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only within the last month (January 2016) 60,502 people went to the Greek Port of Piraeus from Turkey by sea.

In the first week of February, this number reached 1,700. The entrance of 6,500 people into Greece only last Monday shows how huge the number is.

While proceeding toward Europe, as the number of refugees who try to cross Europe passing the Balkans have been increasing, the motivation and numbers of those who have been helping them are decreasing. Institutions such as the UN have been present at these stations with their logos only. Anonymous civilian volunteers who are not part of any institution have been showing the biggest philanthropy.

There is a civilian hero for each station. For example, the hero of the Gevgelija stop, Kazım, is among the most popular and loved figures on the way to migration. I recognized Kazım while watching footage of the immediate support he gave to a pregnant woman who was trying to reach Europe even though she struggled to walk. The presence of such people in the world has raised our hopes. We should listen to the story of immigration from voluntary civilians who have been helping without ranks or expectations.


One of the things that grabbed my attention while I was watching refugees on their way to migration has been the fate of rescued children who lost their families in boat disasters.

The number of orphans who lost all members of their family is quite high.

These children are treated in hospitals and then given to social services.

My friend who is the manager of a hospital in Turkey's southwestern resort town Bodrum says after the children are treated, there are people who want to adopt them. But there is no legislation for that and it is not allowed.

Although there was a family that wanted to adopt two brothers who were treated at the hospital last month, since there is no legislation on this in social services, even the family's application for the request could not be accepted.

A “children's home” scheme can also be started here. Of course these cannot be without registration and research. Only through the Ministry of Family and Social Policies can a system be employed for adopting such children or giving them to foster families.

I know that there are orphaned or disabled children being sheltered in camps. There may be people who want to protect these children in the regions of the camps. I hope legislation that prevents solutions to this problem can be revised.


For the first time Europol, the European Police Office, announced data on refugees. It reported that more than 10,000 children have gone missing after they entered Europe and warned that these children could be forced into prostitution and slavery by gangs.

According to BBC, Save the Children says that in 2015 about 26,000 children came to European countries without their mothers or fathers.

In May 2015, Italian authorities announced that within 12 months 5,000 children were lost from asylum reception centers.

Europol also says that gangs known to be involved in human trafficking in Europe began to target refugees more...


The works implemented concerning the status of refugees and their condition should go beyond aid and protection. Just as the detailed and accessible database (including all Syrians) in the Ministry of Health and policies for prevention of predictable results should definitely be planned and implemented as of today.

The number of refugees accepted by Turkey, currently reaching about 3 million, will increase in 10 years; they will be residents of this country. Even if harmonization of policies within this aspect will take time, it will have permanent effects. For example, the Ministry of Health comes to my mind immediately. Many people were desperate when works such as reforms on all the systems of hospitals, patients and social security started. But it has been achieved and this system advanced Turkey immensely in resolution of health problems.

Recep Akdağ, the Health minister at the time, put in great effort and utilized his experiences in this transformation process and in structuring the system according to sustainable and predictable results. I think a similar system can be established and this experience should be taken advantage of.


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