NGO Report: Turkey Forcing Refugees Back to Syria

Photo: abc

The Facts

  • According to the NGO Human Rights Watch's (HRW) report released on Monday, hundreds of Syrian men and boys were detained, beaten, and forcibly returned to their home country by Turkish authorities over a six-month period between February and July 2022.

  • The deported Syrians told researchers that Turkish officials arrested them in their homes, workplaces, and on the street. They were then allegedly detained and forced to sign documents agreeing to "voluntarily" return to Syria and led across the border at gunpoint.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Under Turkey's Temporary Protection Regulation, Ankara must accept all Syrian refugees who cross its border, so these deportations violate not only international law, but Turkey's own law. These inhumane refugee roundups and expulsions are due to rising xenophobia in Turkey. Erdoğan's government must follow through on its international human rights obligations.

Establishment-critical narrative

While tragic, the war in Syria isn't the Turkish people's fault, and they shouldn't be forced to deal with its migratory ramifications. The Syrians that Erdoğan is sending back are going to safe zones in the border regions of Syria, where they will have Turkish-funded housing and other infrastructure provided for them. Ankara has been extremely welcoming to millions of Syrian refugees — more than any other nation.

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