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November 4, 2015

‘Refugees must adapt to lifestyle in host countries’

Karachi

 
November 4, 2015

Karachi
An interactive roundtable session on the subject tiled “The refugee crisis in Europe” was held at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Tuesday morning with Turkish Consul General Murat
Mustafa Onart and the deputy head of mission at the German Consulate-General, Carsten Muller.
Turkish Consul-General Onart said the refugee crisis did not start right now. Boatloads of refugees had been reaching the coast of Italy for a long time. He said there were large numbers of refugees pouring in from other countries like the countries of North Africa and others, but Turkey was not receiving enough funds to deal with the situation and cater to the needs of the refugee population.
“We have to see where the refugee crisis springs from and tackle the problem accordingly,” said Carsten Muller, the deputy head of mission at the German Consulate-General in town.
Germany, he said, had been having the refugee problem for a long time with refugees from North Africa, and now the focus was on those from Syria, with Germany and the UK being the main targets. “It is important for us to get support for the refugees. We have to see that they are treated in a fair manner,” he said.
The Turkish consul-general lamented that countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar showed no responsiveness to the issue.
In reply to a question as to how far the laws had succeeded in dealing with the issue, he said that now they had a legal framework in place and there was a special directorate constituted to deal with the problem.
Muller said, “We have to get into a dialogue with the governments from where the displaced persons come. Germany had been dealing with the problem for a long time. Economic reasons do not constitute grounds for asylum. As for those who seek asylum, we expect them to assimilate in German society and adopt Germany as their homeland and its culture as theirs.”
Another participant pointed out that unless the underlying factors behind the refugee problem were tackled, there could be no end to the phenomenon and asked as to whether there could be a global strategy to deal with the issue, to which both the Turkish consul-general and the German deputy head of mission agreed.
The Turkish consul-general informed the participants that the Government of Turkey had set up 2,000 camps, but apart from these there were private ones too.
Muller said the camps had to adjust to different needs. It had to be seen to that a camp did not like a camp, and you have to get the refugees out of a place that looks like a camp.
“We have to give utmost consideration to religious identity. We are endeavouring to make Muslim refugees feel at home in Germany culturally. However, the refugees have to adapt to their new surroundings too. Anybody who wants to live in Germany must get it that he’s living in his own country. They have to take up the German lifestyle.”
A number of questioners asked if it was likely that the Ottoman Empire could be revived, to which the Turkish consul-general replied that the thought of the Ottoman Empire was good for nostalgia but conditions had changed and these were not the days of an empire.