For the past few years, a nationalist wave has swept across Europe, leaving a trail of xenophobia and resentment towards refugee groups.
The Republican People’s Party—or CHP—of Turkey has taken advantage of this movement. In the 2015 parliamentary elections, the CHP initially supported the influx of refugees, and their manifesto included protecting newcomers from job exploitation, high rents, and unfair border security practices. Two years later, however, such statements were largely abandoned.
During a 2017 political rally in Giresun, Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stated “Do you know how much has been spent on Syrians? $30 million. They've become first-class citizens… You don't reciprocate for the sweat on our brow, but you've spent $30 million on Syrians who don't work.” Kılıçdaroğlu’s assertion targets the middle class-the CHP’s main voter base-some of which see the refugee crisis as a threat to their standard of living.
The xenophobic wave in Turkey has drastic effects for all refugees. The UNHCR reports that in 2018, out of the 1.2 million refugees who applied for resettlement, 55,692—or 4.6%—received aid. Turkey is the second largest host country for refugees, and with anti-refugee rhetoric on the rise, the demand for other countries to open their doors continues to increase.
Atlas, Meryem Ilayda. “Syrian Refugees and the CHP's Culture of Hate.” DailySabah, 22 Feb. 2019, www.dailysabah.com/columns/meryem-ilayda-atlas/2019/02/23/syrian-refugees-and-the-chps-culture-of-hate.
United Nations. “Less than 5 per Cent of Global Refugee Resettlement Needs Met Last Year.” UNHCR, www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2019/2/5c6bc9704/5-cent-global-refugee-resettlement-needs-met-year.html.