65.7 pct of Turks hold gov’t policies responsible for increased refugee influx: survey

Migrants walk along the hard shoulder of a highway as they make their way from the Iranian border the city of Tatvan, around 200km away, in the eastern Lake Van region of Turkey.(Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

A total of 65.7 percent of Turks put the blame for a recently increased flow of refugees on the Turkish government’s policies, Turkish Minute reported on Wednesday, citing a survey conducted by Metropoll.

According to the survey results, announced by Metropoll owner Özer Sencar on Twitter on Wednesday, only 24.7 percent of respondents do not hold the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responsible for the increased refugee flow.

Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees, has been faced with an increasing number of Afghan nationals attempting to enter the country through Iran since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Between 500 and 1,000 Afghans are estimated to have arrived in Turkey each day since early July, according to Turkish media reports.

When the party affiliations of the respondents were taken into consideration, 96 percent of İYİ (Good) Party supporters, 92 percent of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voters and 88 percent of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voters saw the government’s policies as the main reason for the increased refugee influx, while the same view was held by 46.7 percent and 50 percent of supporters of the AKP and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), respectively.

When asked “Do you think the opposition parties, which lent support to deployment of troops to Syria, were responsible for the refugee problem?” 41.9 percent of respondents said yes while 36.5 percent said no.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is aware of the Turkish public’s “unease” about refugees as he frequently reiterates that the country has reinforced its border with Iran with military, gendarmerie and police and that a wall being erected along the frontier is nearing completion.

According to Erdoğan, Turkey is home to 5 million foreign nationals including 300,000 Afghans.

Hate crimes against refugees and migrants, who are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles, have been escalating in the country in recent years.

Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.

Anti-refugee protesters attacked houses, shops and cars owned by Syrians in Ankara’s Altındağ district in August following reports that a Syrian refugee stabbed two Turkish men in a fight. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into 61 people following the attacks.

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