The Italian research institute “Istituto Affari Internazionali” published a paper in January on the paradox in EU-Turkish relations regarding their migration cooperation:
“Since the beginning of the Arab uprisings in 2011 and as a result of growing instability in the region, migration transit through Turkey has become an increasingly pressing issue in Europe. The transit of migrants placed Turkey in a buffer position between the Middle East and Europe, and it soon assumed the role of guardian of the Schengen area, “protecting” it from irregular migration. This, combined with the exponential growth of irregular migration flows – soon dubbed the “migrant crisis” – resulted in migration management becoming a key to the ostensible rapprochement between Turkey and the EU. However, as a result of many paradoxes, migration can also hamper Turkey-EU relations, as is already becoming obvious as relations took a turn for the worse since the summer of 2016.”
Via University of Oxford – Turkey was regarded as a safe third country for the purposes of the EU-Turkey Statement and on September 22, 2017, the Greek Council of State approved decisions of earlier Appeals Committees, which declared Turkey a safe third country; thus paving the way for more returns. However, little is known about the reception conditions of the migrants and asylum seekers who have been readmitted to Turkey. To fill this knowledge gap and to achieve a better understanding of the impacts of the Statement, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Migration Law Section conducted research that was funded by the Dutch Council for Refugees.
Via Ekathimerini– A group of 234 refugees boarded a charter flight from Athens to Lyon, France on Wednesday as part of the European Union’s relocation program, while dozens more migrants, deemed to belong to vulnerable groups, were transferred by ferry from the islands of the Aegean to mainland Greece. Continue reading Refugees relocated, others go to mainland→
Via NTV* – Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are building bullet-proof accordion trenches in some parts of the border line of Hatay. The objective is to contribute to the Idlib tensions reduction (conflict) zone.
*Source for this news is Anadolu Ajansi, Turkey’s state run news agency.
Via IRIN – An IRIN investigation exposes a rising trend of migrant-smuggling from Turkey to Romania over a notoriously dangerous body of water.
Advertised as a “tourist yacht” to Europe, spacious and loaded with food and water, it was in fact a stripped-down, rusty blue fishing boat lacking any supplies for two stormy days at sea. Almost 160 men, women, and children were crammed on board, sick and fearful as the boat rocked violently from side to side, its leaky hold taking on water.
Since the EU-Turkey statement came into force on March 20th 2016, thousands of refugees became trapped on the Greek islands. Some of them will soon experience their second winter on the islands, waiting for the examination of their asylum claims or for their deportation to Turkey.
Last winter, in the European hotspot camp Moria on Lesvos alone, six people died. No one took responsibility for their deaths. This winter, people seeking protection and a decent life will again be forced to sleep on the ground in thin summer tents and behind barbed wire. Given the circumstances, it seems likely that more deaths will follow.
Grassroots initiatives and small organizations from the Greek islands and mainland have joined forces, supported by international solidarity groups calling together to “Open the islands – No more dead from cold”. HarekAct joins this statement, in which we demand the European Union and the Greek government to put an end to the restriction of movement to the islands, and let people move on at last to find safety! Continue reading JOINT STATEMENT: Open the Greek islands – No more dead from cold→
Via Ekathimerini– Police in northern Greece are reporting a rise the number of refugees and migrants illegally entering the country’s land border with Turkey during September. Police in Thessaloniki said Tuesday 2,428 people were recorded to have illegally entered Greece over the land border in September, compared to 1,497 in August.
Via Bianet – The United States Embassy in Turkey has declared that it has indefinitely suspended all visa services in Turkey. “Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of government of Turkey to the security of US mission and personnel,” the statement by the US mission in Ankara said. Continue reading US, Turkey Mutually Suspend Visa Services→