Migrant Solidarity Network on the kumkapı migrant riot

Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı (Migrant Solidarity Network) – This Saturday, on November 19th, 123 migrants managed to escape the Kumkapı deportation center in Istanbul, after starting a fire in their cells. While the fire brigades were working to extinguish the fire, the migrants broke through the gate of the courtyard and runaway despite the policemen shooting in the air. The police forces brought 20 of them back while searching the neighborhood.

Kumkapı “Removal Center”, is one of the oldest deportation centers in Turkey, infamous with its deplorable accommodation conditions and the corrupt treatment that devoid the migrants of their basic rights. In Kumkapı, imprisoned migrants held another riot last December, and in the past, the center was protested many times by migrant solidarity activists as well. As a matter of fact, the European Court of Human rights ruled, in 2014, that there had been violations of people’s freedom and security, right to efficient application and ban of torture and ill treatment.

The number of migrant in prisons and deportation centers in Turkey tends to increase particularly after the EU-Turkey deal, which requires Turkey to implement all means to prevent irregular migration to Europe. As of today, there is an unknown number of migrants imprisoned in the deportation centers constructed in the cities of Adana, Antalya, Aydın, Bursa, Çanakkale, Edirne, Erzurum, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Kırıkkale, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ and Van, with a capacity of 13660 persons (according to the official numbers of Directorate General of Migration Management). The migrants detained in these centers are under constant risk of deportation that is to be implemented in the cause of diplomatic calculations.

Turkey, as the committed watchdog of the Fortress Europe, distinguishes the migrants who are allowed to live or move freely, and condemns the others to live at survival level, or to be labeled as “illegal” or “criminal” and collected in deportation centers to be deported. Among the migrants who liberated themselves with the Kumkapı fire, many were Afghan or Pakistani, and they were imprisoned at the first place despite the right for refuge or a better life they were looking for, leaving behind the dire conditions of poverty, violence, ethnic discrimination or political pressures in their respective countries.

As of today, more than 720 migrants who managed to reach Greece from Turkey are sent back as part of the EU-Turkey deal. The Turkish government makes no comment on where and under which conditions these people are kept, and what is expecting them, while on the other hand, mentioning the visa-free travel promise constantly.

We, as the Migrant Solidarity Network, still believe that every person has the right to free and unconditional movement and the freedom to live wherever he or she desires. No one should be imprisoned for practicing this right. While the war, destruction and oppression are on constant in this part of the world, it is inadmissible that walls are constructed on the border between Turkey and Europe, and state policies tend to classify, discriminate and imprison the migrants. It has to be questioned once more how “safe” this country of ongoing-state-of-emergency is, and the EU-Turkey deal should be abolished.

We call for free passage to everyone. And we call everyone to stand in solidarity with all migrants seeking freedom and a better life against the rising fascism and racism all around the World.

For a free world without borders and exile!

The text can be found here as well: http://gocmendayanisma.org/2016/11/20/kumkapi-gocmen-isyanina-dair/

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