There are around 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey who have fled the conflict in their country, making Turkey the country with the largest refugee population in the world. So far, Turkey has been comparatively generous in integrating refugee population, granting citizenship and free primary healthcare.
In April 2017, riots erupted across Turkey. With 3 million Syrian refugees, the strain on Turkey’s social and economic infrastructure is enormous. Many Turkish experts have declared the number of refugees in Turkey is “unsustainable”. Meanwhile, the recent referendum granting President Ergodan new, sweeping powers has gone into effect. The European Union (EU) strongly condemns Erdogan’s referendum as anti-democratic. They are threatening to cut foreign aid to Turkey (to date totals €588 million).
Angry with the EU, and wanting to maintain his grip on power, Erdogan has made the decision to expel Syrian refugees, knowing they will flood Europe.
In response to the looming humanitarian crisis in Turkey, the EU has called for its member countries to absorb the refugees. Member countries would be responsible for establishing transit camps to receive, process, and provide services to displaced refugees. EU member countries perceive this expectation as completely unreasonable.
Students will take the roles of major global leaders and actors who must now consider their formal positions on the impending crisis, as well as their political responses regarding Turkey’s recent actions. Ultimately, as stakeholders, students will need to discuss the political crisis and determine the next best course of action.