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MEHMET Y. YILMAZ

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MEHMET Y. YILMAZ >Syrians back to Syria for holidays

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There was a photograph on the front page of daily Posta the other day. The paper enlarged the photograph spreading it to nine columns as it deserved; it was taken at Turkey’s Syrian border post Öncüpınar in Kilis. 

A huge crowd, the one that you can only come across at political rallies, was at the border post, waiting.

These people were Syrians who wanted to cross into their country for the upcoming Eid el-Fitr holiday to visit relatives, friends and neighbors. 

We do not know yet how many of them will be doing this trip but it seems like tens of thousands of Syrians will go to their hometowns to visit their relatives, to see their former neighbors, celebrate the holiday and come back to Turkey before the month is over. 

At the moment, we have 3.5 million Syrian refugees in our country. They took refuge in our country, running away from the fire of war burning their country. They had no other option; we could not have closed our borders to them. 

We provided accommodation and living facilities for them as best as we can; and for this we spent $25 billion from our already-scarce resources. 

It looks as if, after our borders were cleansed of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) that life has started again in nearby towns and villages. If it were otherwise, so many people would not have crossed there for the holiday. Apparently, they also have the means to live in their own countries just like their relatives. 

The reason they are not returning for good is maybe they do not have a house to return to now and no job to work and no income to make a living. 

Well then, since we are spending so much money, can’t we help provide the conditions for these people to live in their own countries? 

Building new houses for them to live is peanuts for our TOKİ. They can plant their land and run their business. 

Since they are able to return for holidays, why don’t we help them set up a life for themselves? 


Democratic and transparent

The number of advisers to the president and their salaries have been asked, but the Public Relations Department of the Office of the President refused to answer because “it did not concern the public.” 

It was said beforehand that the president had 23 advisers but their salaries were not known. There is a Right to Information Act (Oct. 9, 2003) that was introduced during Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. 

The first article of this law says that this law was enacted for access to information as a requirement of democratic and transparent governance according to the principles of equality, impartiality and openness. In its fourth article, it says everybody has the right to information. 

As a matter of fact, there is an army of “chief advisers,” the number of whom is constantly increasing; the public has the right to know how much they cost us. This is information that openly concerns the public.

Maybe one person’s salary alone cannot be publicized but there is no problem in giving a total figure. 

The law says this is for democratic and transparent governance. If you have given up on this, then of course, this is the way to do it.
 
In this case, we do not need this law; just abolish it.

June/16/2017

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