europe online magazine – The General Court of the European Union said on Tuesday it does not have the jurisdiction to pass judgement on a case brought about by three asylum seekers against a migration deal struck between EU member states and Turkey.
Star (link in Turkish) – The Public Administration of Social Housing (TOKİ), which is attached to the prime minister office, declared that 50 % of the wall that is being constructed along the Turkish-Syrian border is completed.
ECRE – Greece is building pre-removal detention facilities on the Aegean islands with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement. These will be separate from the Reception and Identification Centres on the hotspots where newly arrived refugees and migrants are initially detained.
According to the EU Coordinator for the implementation of the statement, the pre-removal detention centres on the islands would be a temporary solution to increase the number of returns to Turkey. On Kos, a pre-removal detention centre has been established by a Ministerial Decision entering into force in February 2017 until the end of 2017. The costs of construction of the centre are estimated at €4.5 million. Reference has also been made to pre-removal centres in the remaining hotspots, although an implementing legal instrument has yet to be issued.
In a press release, the demonstrators referred to themselves as migrants who were fighting for their rights. Many of them marched together with their whole families but carried only some bags or just a backpack. Although the majority were from Syria, other nationalities were present too. Some had lived in Turkey for years, while others had e.g. just come from Lebanon or Jordan. The people who camped in parks or at the highway waited for Europe to open its borders. This never happened. The Turkish police pushed migrants to go to Ankara, Istanbul or Izmir and arrested hundreds of them.
Hurriyet Daily News* – Three migrants were killed when a boat carrying at least eight people sank on the Maritza (Turkish: Evros) River in northwestern Turkey early on Feb. 22, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Eight migrants of Pakistani origin were trying to cross the Maritza River that mostly marks the border between Turkey and Greece with a rubber dinghy when their boat capsized around the middle of the river near the İpsala district of Edirne province.
Kom News– While the US wall on the border to Mexico has received plenty of attention sparking criticism and protests, Turkey’s construction of a 3 meter high and more than 900 kilometre long wall on the border to Syria has proceeded without much notice. Building of 367 kilometers of the wall has been completed as of January 2017. Continue reading Turkey’s ‘wall of shame’ on Syria border goes unnoticed→
Ekathimerini – Greek authorities are planning the creation of pre-departure detention facilities on the eastern Aegean islands, where thousands of migrants and refugees remain stranded, so as to accelerate returns to Turkey. Officials say that the creation of closed-structure facilities, each with a capacity of 150-200 people, is key to taking some of the pressure off the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, which have borne the brunt of the influx.
During a tour of these islands last week, the EU’s special envoy on migration, Maarten Verwey, said that the aim was to cut current numbers by half by the end of April. According to official figures, some 14,600 migrants and refugees are currently accommodated at official facilities on the islands. Since the beginning of 2017, authorities have reportedly deported 160 individuals from Pakistan, 150 from Iraq, 70 from Algeria, 30 from Afghanistan, 25 from Morocco and 20 from Bangladesh. Police said 60 Syrians had left Greece voluntarily.
Amnesty Internationalpublished a new report on the consequences of the infamous EU-Turkey deal, dealing in particular with arbitrary detentions, the humanitarian and legal situation for refugees stranded on the Greek islands as well as with the deportations back to Turkey.
europe online magazine– Amnesty International issued a plea to world leaders on Tuesday not to use the “disastrous” EU-Turkey refugee deal as a blueprint for similar schemes in Libya, Sudan and Niger.
The non-governmental organization says the scheme left thousands of people “stranded in limbo” on the Greek islands. “It is disingenuous in the extreme that European leaders are touting the EU-Turkey deal as a success, while closing their eyes to the unbearably high cost to those suffering the consequences,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty‘s deputy director for Europe. Amnesty also alleges that international law was breached when some refugees were sent back without being given the opportunity to seek asylum or appeal against their return to Turkey.