EVALUATING TURKISH RED CRESCENT SOCIETY AND SYRIA REFUGEE CRISIS

Background Information about Turkish Red Crescent Society:

The Turkish Red Crescent Society was established on June 11, 1868 for the purpose of helping the ‘wounded and sick Ottoman soldiers’.[1] It was named Red Crescent by Atatürk in 1947. Among its aims; to try to prevent or alleviate human suffering without any discrimination, to protect human life and health, to ensure that their personality is respected, to try to bring mutual respect and continuous peace between people. As Hande Paker stated “it is a member of a large international NGO’”[2]. Also its principles are; humanity, indiscrimination, impartiality, independence, being a charity, and the understanding of unity and universality.


Turkish Red Crescent Society and Syrian Refugees:

Turkish Red Crescent Syrian Crisis Border Aid Operations started in 2012 in Yayladag district of Hatay province, due to the increasing turmoil in Syria. Turkish Red Crescent Societies continued throwing in line with humanitarian activities and needs of the region due to the increasingly violent consequences of the crisis conducted by the needs of the zero point of the border between Turkey and Syria on aid requests from owners affected in Syrian territory under international humanitarian law.


Humanitarian aid situation of the Red Crescent to Syrian Refugees:

In 2010, chaos broke out due to the Arab peoples' demands for democracy, freedom and human rights. As of 15 March 2011, it also influenced the Syrian Arab Republic. More than 100 thousand Syrian citizens died across the country due to armed conflicts in Syria. Approximately 2,156,146 million Syrian citizens had to leave their places. A total of 7 million people were directly affected by the events in the country with a population of 22 million. Due to these internal disturbances, the Turkish Red Crescent started its humanitarian aid activities on 29 April 2011.


Objectives/ Actions and the aim of the Red Crescent:

The aid provided by the Red Crescent for Syrian citizens can be shown in many categories. In 2016 Mehmet A.Karaman and Richard J.Ricard published an article about “addressing the needs of Syrian Refugees”.[3] Within the scope of the “IASC guideline (2007)”, a “4-step approach”[4]has been adopted by the Turkish Red Crescent. These include basic and primary needs, security, housing, community and family support, lodging, banking, communication and psychological support. First of all, it launched the Syria Crisis Humanitarian Aid Operation to meet the shelter and nutrition needs of many Syrian citizens. In this context, it provided tents, blankets, heaters, beds and materials inside tents for Syrian citizens to shelter. They also took on the task of meeting and distributing basic humanitarian aid needs such as food, hygiene materials, clothing materials. This operation spread from a single region to many regions. After the city of Hatay, team presidencies were established in many cities. In the district of Şanlıurfa, a bullet fired from Syria near the border gate fell on October 3, 2012, and 5 people lost their lives. Also similar incidents occurred in the following process, leading to great fear and panic, especially among children. A psychosocial support program was initiated in the region in order to minimize the negative psychological effects on the public after the events. In this context, many tradesmen visits were made, psychosocial information brochures were distributed and the families visited were explained how they could cope with this process psychologically and get help. A theater event for children attended by a total of 600 people was organized. Thus, “In May 2014, UNICEF Turkey conducted NIE training for NGOs, UN agencies and the Turkish Red Crescent, benefiting 25 participants.”[5] In this context, all expenses were covered by UNICEF and volunteer trainings were provided in a total of 19 camps. According to ICRC report Turkish Red Crescent and Unicef ​​supported more than 100 thousand Syrian children staying in the camp to provide psychological assistance and education services.[6]


Results of Intervention:

Humanitarian access is difficult, but not impossible. The work of the Red Crescent also shows this successfully. Access problems occurred due to many problems, including the closure of important border gates, lively clashes on key access roads, and access restrictions imposed by different armed groups and the Syrian Government. If there are armed groups, there may be a conflict or a problem, which can delay assistance. It can be said that the Red Crescent managed this situation successfully and in an organized manner and showed a valuable teamwork. Good coordination and communication has been achieved with UNICEF, the United Nations and many other international organizations. This coordination was provided by the Red Crescent with its ‘intervention plan’. Considering the scope of the intervention, it can be said that it is guided by 6 strategic goals and it is a plan that addresses life-saving needs and protection violations, as well as improving resilience, improvement, capacity building in local partners and improving coordination in operations. Due to this plan, the operation was directed. Since humanitarian action is essential to protect people, the humanitarian aid strategy developed in this response plan supports and promotes respect for human rights and pursues protection goals through activities across all humanitarian response sectors. Under this plan; coordination and management of camps, food security and livelihoods, health and nutrition, protection, shelter and non-food supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene was provided. In line with humanitarian principles and standards, priority has been given to those who are vulnerable. It has also ensured the resilience, sustainability of communities, livelihoods, support and protection of social and public services. For instance; they wanted to provide camp coordination for the refugees who stays in the camp, to carry out camp management and to organize protection activities in the camps.

Another area of ​​success is the activities carried out in order to provide access to protective and quality education services, which are the rights of children and young people affected by conflict and forced migration, and to ensure coordination again. Providing food supply is another successful area. In this regard, it can be said that it takes a two-pronged approach to meet the food needs. These are to increase access to food through a regular and adequate supply of food, and thus also to provide material support for production. According to ‘Evaluation report of health care services at the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey’ health conditions called as ‘satisfactory’ in all refugee camps over the period.[7] Intervention plan to reach to the entire country covers all cross-border operations conducted against Syria from Turkey.

In this way, as a success assessment, the protection environment at both the community and national level has been strengthened in order to prevent or reduce violations and to support international human rights and international humanitarian law.


My respond for this intervention:

If I were respond these event of the Turkish Red Crescent on Syrian Refugees, I would like to add a few more things besides similar responds with theirs. I think that focusing on permanent solutions rather than seeking and finding temporary solutions will solve this situation in a healthier way. Although the basic rights of refugees such as shelter, food and drink and health are provided by the Red Crescent, it remains a big question mark how they will meet these needs in the future. I think it is necessary to contribute by thinking ahead in order to produce permanent solutions on these successful works. Although the legal regulations change in favor of the Syrian refugees, some negativities such as cultural differences, hate speeches, language barriers and discrimination caused by the local people can prevent them from accessing some resources. For example; It can create a barrier to access to livelihoods. Although temporary needs such as blankets and tents can be reached through the Red Crescent at first, they do not provide a permanent and sufficient solution to basic needs such as accommodation and food because staying in refugee shelters throughout their lives will be against the normal flow of life. In addition, another unsolved issue is education. For example; families cannot enroll their children in school because they do not have an identity card, or children may be deprived of education due to language problems. This might cause children to work as child labor for the sake of contributing to the livelihood of their families in later periods. Regarding education, separate classes can be open for refugees and granting them the right to be educated in their own language or the languages ​​of the country they live in because I firmly believe that today's children will build our future tomorrow and that’s why we should be very sensitive about this issue.


Likewise, there may be a situation of not being able to benefit from health services due to identity problems again. Since the right to health is one of the most fundamental and primary rights of people, not being able to directly access this system may cause permanent damages. Private hospitals, in particular, may be more generous towards refugees with this issue, as there may be a high density in public hospitals. If I were involved in the Red Crescent organization, I would like to make a regulation for private hospitals to open a quota for refugees. In addition, other step that needs to be provided in order to provide a permanent solution is to offer job opportunities that will enable them to continue their lives without needing anyone. If I was in this organization, I would like to help with setting up jobs and creating job opportunities. I would have set up a committee and organize its name as employment or job opportunities for Syrian Refugees and want people working in various sectors to come as voluntarily and introduce their jobs every week or month and state the qualifications of the workers they are looking for. It might be useful for entrepreneurs to create a 15-25% refugee quota that in their companies so, these people could be given a chance and a good step could be taken regarding their future. In addition, it may be possible for powerful and large companies to offer more business opportunities in cooperation with the Red Crescent.

Apart from all these, I appreciate the efforts of the Red Crescent in this regard and I am proud that it has taken a big and crucial step in the name of humanity and I think it sets a good example of ICRC Professional Standards for protection.



BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Aşır Özbek, ‘Effiency Analysis of the Turkish Red Crescent between 2012-2014’ [2015] International Journal of Economics and Finance

Hande Paker, ‘Reflection of the State in Turkish Res Crescent: From Modernization to Corruption to Reform?’ 647

James Kingori, Dr Hayder Nasser, Muhiadin Abdullahi, Dr Khaldun Al-Asaad, ‘Nutrition Response in Syria: UNICEFs Perspective’ 160.

Mehmet A. Karaman, Richard J. Ricard, ‘Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Syrian Refugees in Turkey’ (2016) Volume 6 Pages 318

——, ‘Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Syrian Refugees in Turkey’ ibid 320.

‘Syria and Countries Affected by the Country: Humanitarian Situation, Needs and Response’ ICRC(December 2013)

Zaher Sahlool, Abdul Ghani Sankri-Tarbichi, and Mazen Kherallah, ‘Evaluation Report of Health Care Services at the Syrian Refugee Camps in Turkey’

[1] Aşır Özbek, ‘Effiency Analysis of the Turkish Red Crescent between 2012-2014’ [2015] International Journal of Economics and Finance.

[2] Hande Paker, ‘Reflection of the State in Turkish Res Crescent: From Modernization to Corruption to Reform?’ 647.

[3] Mehmet A. Karaman, Richard J. Ricard, ‘Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Syrian Refugees in Turkey’ (2016) Volume 6 Pages 318.

[4] Mehmet A. Karaman, Richard J. Ricard, ‘Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Syrian Refugees in Turkey’ ibid 320.

[5] James Kingori, Dr Hayder Nasser, Muhiadin Abdullahi, Dr Khaldun Al-Asaad, ‘Nutrition Response in Syria: UNICEFs Perspective’ 160.

[6] ‘Syria and Countries Affected by the Country: Humanitarian Situation, Needs and Response’ ICRC (December 2013).

[7] Zaher Sahlool, Abdul Ghani Sankri-Tarbichi, and Mazen Kherallah, ‘Evaluation Report of Health Care Services at the Syrian Refugee Camps in Turkey’.

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