Five Aegean islands seek to cancel “geographic restrictions for refugees and migrants”

Via Keep Talking Greece – The geographical restriction imposed on refugees and migrants who arrived in Greece after the EU-Turkey Statement on the islands of the northern Aegean, violates the principle of human dignity, the alleged need to apply it is not substantiated, representatives of the Bar Associations in Chios, Lesvos, Rhodes, Kos and Samos, as well as the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) said in a joint press conference on Tuesday.

The five Bar Associations and the GCR have submitted two cancellation requests against the State and the Asylum Service’s decision to keep refugees and migrants on the islands until their asylum requests have been examined, which were heard earlier today by the Council of State. It is not known when the court will issue its ruling.

Hara Katsigianni, from GCR’s legal department, said the specific decision violates the European Directive 33/2013, according to which such geographical restrictions should be imposed on grounds of public interest, public order or for the rapid processing and effective monitoring of the application for international protection. However, she explained, “the provision of Article 41 of Law No 4375/2016, on the basis of which the decision on a geographical restriction was adopted, does not specify any reason of public interest or public order and does not mention the speedy monitoring of the application”.

Grammatiki Alimonou, representing the Bar Associations of Chios, Rhodes, Kos and Samos, stressed that “as far as the obligation to remain on the islands is concerned, there is no clear condition in the EU-Turkey Joint Statement”. On the contrary, she explained, the EU or the migration policy ministry interprets the statement in a way that requires refugees and migrants to remain on the islands until it is decided if they qualify for asylum and return them to Turkey from there.

“We are here to defend our islands, to defend the rights of refugees and migrants, who cannot live in appalling conditions, but to support the right of island residents to exist, to live, to create without deteriorating their daily lives,” the president of Chios’ Bar Association, Anthippi Zannara said. 


This article was originally published by Keep Talking Greece 

Resentments against Syrians in Turkey: “Why are you not fighting?”

Turkish-German newspaper taz.gazete reported on Feb 23rd that since the operation olive branch, resentments against Syrians in Turkey are increasing again.

“When Heso arrived in Turkey, it were everyday encounters and dialogues that made his life difficult: “We were always asked: Why did you come to Turkey, why did not you fight?”. These questions decreased over the years. In order to persevere, they started a new life in Turkey with their families, says Heso.” Continue reading Resentments against Syrians in Turkey: “Why are you not fighting?”

38 migrants intercepted at sea close to Mersin

Via CNNTürk (Link in Turkish) – According to a statement issued by the Mersin Governor’s Office, teams affiliated to the Coast Guard Mediterranean Region Command spotted the presence of migrants on a moving boat in Kizkalesi, Silifke county.

The coastguard patrolling the area stopped the boat at sea.  38 migrants were on the boat, 24 of them were male, 9 were female and 5 were children. Continue reading 38 migrants intercepted at sea close to Mersin

79 migrants crossing into Turkey from Iran caught in Artvin

Via CNNTürk (Link in Turkish) – According to information received, 79 migrants – 68 from Afghanistan and 11 from Pakistan – entered Turkey through Iran illegally. They took a bus from Dogubayazit to Artvin and from there wanted to go to different provinces of Turkey, especially to Istanbul. Continue reading 79 migrants crossing into Turkey from Iran caught in Artvin

55 migrants were caught in Ayvalık

Via Milliyet (Link in Turkish) – 55 immigrants from Balikesir’s Ayvalık district who were trying to cross to the Greek island Lesvos were caught by the Coast Guard Command.

According to the information received, the Ayvaçk Coast Guard Command teams detected 55 migrants on an inflatable boat in the morning on the Sarımsaklı Beaches in Küçükköy District. The Coast Guard teams, which immediately took action rescued 55 migrants, including women and children, who were under the threat of overturning. Continue reading 55 migrants were caught in Ayvalık

Turks land on Greece’s Oinousses island, request asylum

Via Ekathimerini – Seventeen Turkish citizens landed on the shores of the Greek island of Oinousses in the eastern Aegean on Monday afternoon and requested asylum, the country’s coast guard has announced.

The majority are said to be civil servants and the group has been transferred to the Vial migrant center on Chios, where they will be registered and processed. Continue reading Turks land on Greece’s Oinousses island, request asylum

50 migrants were caught in Urla

Via CNN Türk (Link in Turkish) – Fifty migrants, including women and children trying to escape via the Aegean Sea by boat were caught by coast guard teams in the Urla province of Izmir.

The Coast Guard identified the boat, when the migrants where already in the water.

A total of 50 migrants were arrested, including 26 Syrian, 12 people from Angola, five from Togo, four from Somalia, two from Cameroon and one Iraqi national. Continue reading 50 migrants were caught in Urla

“Only 16% of asylum seekers can be sent back to Turkey”: Maria Stavropoulou, former head of the Greek asylum service

Via Ekathimerini (from 11th Feb) – Just 16 percent of asylum seekers who undertook the journey to Greece can be returned to Turkey under Greek law and European directives, Maria Stavropoulou, the former head of the Greek asylum service, has told Kathimerini.

“Given what we know about Turkey, those who can be shipped back are mostly Syrians, who enjoy a high level of protection,” said Stavropoulou, adding that the agency has ruled that 2,200 Syrians can be returned from Greece to Turkey on safe third country grounds. Continue reading “Only 16% of asylum seekers can be sent back to Turkey”: Maria Stavropoulou, former head of the Greek asylum service