A New Nightmare: Picked up in the Aegean and Returned to Syria

Saad Abdllah reports for the Samos Chronicles about a forced deportation from Turkey to Syria. His friend Mohammad was attempting to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece by boat with other migrants when they were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard shortly after starting. They were then detained for 6 days, loaded onto a bus without knowing the destination and finally ended up in Idlib, Syria.

Little is known on what happens to migrants who are being picked up by the Turkish Coast, Police or Gendarmery when trying to irregularly cross to Greece, except these horrific single stories of  detention and forced deportation. We would like to ask our readers to share their knowledge, insights, articles and contributions on this issue with us! Please contact us at harekact@bordermonitoring.eu

Via Samos Chronicles (19th June) – For the past ten days I have been waiting for news from Mohammad. Like me he comes from Aleppo but for the past 6 years he has been with his mother and brother living in Istanbul. Mohammad is 18 years old.

We became friends through Facebook where he saw that I was involved with many refugees in Athens and in Samos. He had read my story in the Samos Chronicles. As a young gay man he turned to me for advice and help which I was happy to give. Over the past six months we have talked a lot and a good friendship has developed. I know that he trusts me.

Continue reading A New Nightmare: Picked up in the Aegean and Returned to Syria

Nobody Migrates Without a Reason!

The Migrant Solidarity Kitchen, the Migrant Solidarity Network – Ankara and Hamisch – Istanbul Syrian Cultural House issued a statement saying:

Nobody Migrates Without a Reason!

Zero Tolerance for Anti-Immigrant Policies!

In Solidarity with our friends from these initiatives and migrants in Turkey we say #notoantimmigrantpolicies #gocmenkarsitisiyasetegecityok

** English Version (17th June) ** Turkish and Arabic below **

Since the announcement of early elections on 18th of April, electoral campaigns have brought together thousands of people in different cities and squares across the country.

One of the frequently-heard campaign promises during these meetings and rallies has been the promise to send migrants back home, which is the reason why we have decided to make this statement and launch this campaign.

Continue reading Nobody Migrates Without a Reason!

Where LGBTQ War Refugees Finally Feel Safe

Via Narratively – When you’re queer in the Middle East, escaping war doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the people who want you dead.

“Turkey is now home to around 3.6 million Syrian refugees. In 2015, there were approximately 400 self-identified LGBTQ Syrian refugees in Turkey, according to the Organization for Refugee, Asylum & Migration. The actual number is likely much higher because many are too afraid to speak out. They are accompanied by LGBTQ asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, and other countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Homosexuality is illegal in many of these countries—even punishable by death in some—but legal in Turkey, making Istanbul a beacon for queer refugees.

“At the bottom of one of Istanbul’s many hills, along a windy road lined with mosques, barber shops and tea gardens, is Istanbul’s only shelter for LGBTQ refugees. Not far from ancient Byzantine walls, Aman LGBT Shelter currently houses 14 LGBTQ refugees, the majority of them from Syria.

Continue reading Where LGBTQ War Refugees Finally Feel Safe

STUCK – They fled for safety, only to live in limbo.

Via Huffington Post – “As the gateway to Europe, Turkey has more migrants cross its border than any other country in the world. Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, Turkey has been flooded with millions more refugees. With Turkey’s system overwhelmed, migrants from countries other than Syria have little chance of being resettled anytime soon.”

“This project is about those millions of others — asylum seekers and migrants from places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and throughout Africa — who have fled war and repression, but are often caught in limbo.”

“STUCK follows their journeys through Turkey’s two-tiered immigration process, and reveals the complex system faced by non-Syrians as they try to start new lives.”

Click here to see the whole story at Huffington Post and explore eight individual stories in the project, each on a different aspect of the asylum system in Turkey.

Continue reading STUCK – They fled for safety, only to live in limbo.

Mass Deportations of Afghans from Turkey: Thousands of migrants sent back in a deportation drive

Via Afghanistan Analysts – In a recent television appearance, the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, said that 15,000 Afghans have been sent back home from Turkey. While it is likely that this number has been exaggerated, there is no doubt that in April and May of 2018, thousands of Afghan migrants were sent back on charter flights from Turkey to Kabul. This is the Turkish government’s response after a 400 per cent increase in arrivals of Afghan migrants to Turkey during the first quarter of 2018. In early April of this year, the first charter flight carrying Afghans back to Kabul flew out of Erzurum, a city in eastern Anatolia that has become the centre of these returns. AAN’s guest author Amy Pitonak visited Erzurum to find out first-hand about the situation for Afghans there.

Aşkale Removal Centre in Erzurum. Photo: Amy Pitonak

Continue reading Mass Deportations of Afghans from Turkey: Thousands of migrants sent back in a deportation drive

Turkey’s Syrian refugees hot-topic issue in upcoming election

Via AlJazeera – As the Turkish economy slows down and people are getting ready to elect new leadership, the presence of millions of Syrian refugees living in the country returns to the fore.

Today marks World Refugee Day, when the plight of migrants is highlighted. More than 16 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes in the last year.

Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country, and the upcoming election has highlighted the issue of more than four million Syrian refugees in the country. They have generally been welcomed, but as the economy slows, they fear they will bear the fallout.

Click here to see the video-report from Gaziantep

30,000 Syrians eligible to vote in Turkish elections: PM

Via Hurriyet Daily News – Some 30,000 Syrians are eligible to vote in the June 24 elections in Turkey. Speaking to journalists in the western province of İzmir, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced “around 30,000 Syrians have received Turkish citizenship so far.”

“They have the right to vote but I do not know how many of them will use that right. They are our guests and they will return to their country,” the prime minister said. He stressed that the Syrians in Turkey “must obey the Turkish law.” “If they do not, then we will take them by their hand back to where they came from,” said Yıldırım.

Continue reading 30,000 Syrians eligible to vote in Turkish elections: PM

The L.G.B.T. Refugees in Turkey Who Refuse to Be Forgotten

Riot police crack down on an L.G.B.T. rally in Istanbul, in 2016. Under the provisions of the country’s state of emergency, protest is effectively banned.
Photograph by Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty

Via The New Yorker – When you are a refugee, you learn all about the hierarchy of compassion. There are the people from war-torn countries—refugees from humanitarian catastrophes so enormous that they upend the world’s imagination, such as those who have escaped from Syria. There are people who have fled a sudden campaign of violence and hatred, such as the gay men who have been escaping from Chechnya for the past year. And then there is you: unlucky enough to have suffered the kind of misfortune that can’t seem to hold onto a headline. From the officers of U.N.H.C.R.—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency that runs refugee-resettlement operations around the world—what you hear is this: “There is no country for you.” Continue reading The L.G.B.T. Refugees in Turkey Who Refuse to Be Forgotten

Their Road to Turkey Was Long and Grueling, but the Short Flight Home Was Crueler

About 60 Afghan men were being deported aboard a flight to Kabul from Istanbul last month, including Abdul Mohammed, right. They had spent months on a dangerous journey to Turkey, only to be returned home on a five-hour flight. Credit: Mujib Mashal/The New York Times

 

Via The New York Times – By Mujib Mashal; KABUL, Afghanistan — Their desperate journey out of Afghanistan, en route to safer lives in Europe, had taken months through high mountains and treacherous deserts.

They survived bullets, beatings and insults from border guards. Bandits stripped them of nearly everything except their shoes and clothes — which over the months of the journey they would wash in whatever puddle or pool was available, laying the clothes out in the sun to dry and then wear again.

But their migration halted suddenly in Turkey, and now they were being deported to a home country racked by war. I flew with them on the return flight to Kabul from Istanbul that finally ended their hopes. It took just five hours last month. Continue reading Their Road to Turkey Was Long and Grueling, but the Short Flight Home Was Crueler

Study by the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament published

The EU-Turkey Statement and the Greek Hotspots – A Failed European Pilot Project in Refugee Policy

The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament recently published a study focusing on the detrimental impact that the EU-Turkey Statement and the implementation of the “hotspot approach” in Greece is having on the rights of refugees and migrants arriving. The study finds that the current procedures and practices for processing asylum applications on the Greek islands under the EU-Turkey statement violate the applicants’ right to asylum and due process.

The study can be downloaded here.