Stop Shooting at Refugees

A refugee from one of the provinces of Idlib cooks in front of her tent in a refugee camp in Atimeh, on the Syrian-Turkish border on October 23, 2012. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

Target: President Recep Erdogan

Goal: Stop attacks against refugees fleeing ISIS and allow them over the Turkish border.

Syrian refugees fleeing recent clashes between opposition forces and ISIS have been shot at by Turkish armed forces, according to Human Rights Watch. Turkey’s border has been shut since 2015 and the country has been rejecting all refugees not requiring immediate medical attention. In recent weeks ISIS advances have displaced an estimated 30,000 people, forcing them out of their homes and camps for internally displaced persons and pushing them towards the Turkish border. There have been reports of members of the Turkish military firing live ammunition at Syrian refugees attempting to cross, or approach the border. Many displaced people in northern Syria are only still in the country because the Turkish border is closed.

Those that suffer most from ISIS are those that have to live under their regime. Mass graves were discovered after Palmyra was retaken by ISIS, people are enslaved, and children are forced to attend schools where they are indoctrinated. Blocking the transit of refugees fleeing ISIS condemns them to a regime of systematic human rights abuses. Furthermore, Turkey has an obligation under international law to accept refugees. Sign our petition and ask President Recep Erdogan to order the Turkish military to stop firing on refugees and to allow those fleeing ISIS safe passage into Turkey.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Erdogan,

The counteroffensive launched by ISIS on April 13th and 14th have displaced an estimated 30,000 people, pushing them towards Turkey’s southern border. These people are fleeing a regime that has committed unconscionable acts; they are trying to avoid having to live in a regime that would indoctrinate their children, enslave people, and commit mass murder. Responding to the plight of these people–Turkey’s neighbors– by firing live ammunition at them is morally indefensible.

Furthermore, as a member of the international community, Turkey has an obligation to admit those seeking asylum who are under a clear and present threat of harm. Those fleeing ISIS are clearly in danger of being harmed. The policy of only admitting those that have suffered injury means that many refugees are only able to cross once they have been injured. This both costs Turkey much more in healthcare and also often results in permanent harm to people.

I urge you to halt any policy directing members of the Turkish military to fire at refugees, and to reconsider the policy of closing the Turkish border to Syrian refugees.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Freedom House

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One Comment

  1. Anna Borsey says:

    NOT signing this one. Turkey already hosts well over 2,7 MILLION Syrians, and it is not a wealthy country. They simply cannot afford to take unlimited numbers of refugees! Turkey has an obligation under International Law, does it, to take limitless nos of refugees and migrants? Who is going to pay for it all? These migrants are costing most European countries vast sums of money which few, if any, of them can afford. There is also the question of the infrastructure of all these countries, including Turkey, that is collapsing under the strain. These people will simply have to go elsewhere, e.g., go south, to Saudi Arabia, an immensely wealthy and Muslim and Arab country! Other options are Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan. NO reason why Turkey should be obliged to accept many millions of Syrians. It is simply not viable!

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