Category Archives: In Depth

“Free us or be responsible for our deaths”

Author: Valeria Hänsel

For 14 days, refugee activist Arash Hampay has refused food. On the Greek island of Lesvos, he sits on the central square of the town Mytilini surrounded by shops, cafés and tourists, presenting a sign stating “Refugees are not Criminals”.

He is exhausted but determined to continue his hunger strike until the end. His open statement leaves no doubt:

“We shall continue our hunger strike until the prisoners in Moria camp are released, regardless of the consequences for us. A life without freedom is worthless and meaningless for us. You must release the refugees or we shall end our lives in front of your eyes and the people’s eyes. We are waiting for you. The people are waiting for you. You must free us or else be responsible for our death. We will keep waiting until the last drop of life falls from our bodies.”

Surrounded by tourists and cafes, Arash Hampay has started a hunger strike on the island of Lesvos. Photo by: Lorraine Leete, Legal Centre Lesbos.

Continue reading “Free us or be responsible for our deaths”

From Assos to Lesbos: In the Aegean Sea

by Didem Danış, 5.7.2017

I saw lightning in the east
in a wink
then west
I saw the sun dripping
in its blood
and the sea agitated
and the past robbed of its books.

•••

Suffering Syrians, beautiful Syrians, Syrian brothers fleeing death.
You won’t reach the shores on rafts but will be born on beaches with the foam.
Lost gold dust you are, melted gold dust, scattered, dulled.
From abyss to abyss in the hollow of the sea of the Rum, with the star fish and her brother, the roving squid, the waves convey you under the light of Ursa Major, the Daughters of Na’sh.

From ‘Boat to Lesbos’, by Nouri Al-Jarrah


I came across Önder Tokuç, an artist based in Assos, whose “The Aegean Sea” collection has taken me back to the epic poem “Boat to Lesbos” written by Nouri Al-Jarrah. The Syrian poet who lives in exile since 1986 describes the Aegean Sea like a huge bloodstain. This was exactly what pushed Önder Tokuç to produce his powerful art works, consisting of ceramic statues and oil on canvas paintings.

İnsani Yardım – Humanitarian assistance

Continue reading From Assos to Lesbos: In the Aegean Sea

Abstract from the borderline-europe newsletter on HarekAct

borderline-europe published a part about HarekAct and the developments of the last two month regarding the Turkish migration regime and the EU-Turkey Deal in their last newsletter. We translated it into English. Read the German version below.

Last July, we already presented the collective blog project HarekAct, which bordermonitoring.eu, GAR, kritnet, Mülteci-Der and borderline-europe maintain in collaboration. The blog has been online now for almost one year and is presenting critical and up-to-date information and analyses about the European-Turkish border regime, focussing on the migration collaboration between the EU and Turkey as well as on the realities of life of refugees and migrants in Turkey. Continue reading Abstract from the borderline-europe newsletter on HarekAct

Preparing for More – European ›Border Control‹ in the Backdrop of the New Migration Law in Turkey

By Fritz Rickert. Originally published in movements 3 (1) . Journal for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies

This article analyses the background of measures taken at the EU-Turkey border that were part of the EU-Turkey deal in 2016 or came along with the latter. In doing so, it examines the new Turkish Law on Foreigners and International Protection and takes a closer look at its development. Hereby, the paper shows on the one hand that this national law was strongly influenced by the EU and that it constitutes an EU-orientated and often repressive migration policy in Turkey itself as well as at its borders. On the other hand, the text makes clear that the enforcement of the measures at the Turkish-European borders since 2016 would not have been possible without the establishment of this law on foreigners. To summarize, these current attempts at sealing European borders are not just the outcome of negotiations between the EU and Turkey in 2015, but rather a continuation of a long standing engagement of the EU with Turkey in order to control and decrease migration to Europe. Continue reading Preparing for More – European ›Border Control‹ in the Backdrop of the New Migration Law in Turkey

Call for the immediate Freedom for Gabriele Del Grande

We support the call for the immediate Freedom for Gabriele del Grande published by borderline-europe, borderline Sicilia Onlus and other anti-racist initiatives from Sicily:


We express our deep concern regarding the events which have effected the Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande since April 10th. He remains detained by Turkish authorities in a detention centre for foreigners on the border with Syria. Gabriele was arrested for breaching an administrative law, following which Turkey wanted to deport him.

Continue reading Call for the immediate Freedom for Gabriele Del Grande

#OnGabriele’sSide

The Migrant Solidarity Network Ankara published a statement regarding the arrest of Gabriele del Grande in Hatay at the Syrian-Turkish border. Del Grande is a critical journalist, filmmaker and most importantly a fellow activists advocating for migrant rights:

“Gabriele Del Grande is an Italian freelance journalist. He is the founder of the blog Fortress Europe, where he documents facts, data and stories about the thousands of migrants arrested, deported or dead in the attempt to reach Fortress Europe. In 2014, he made the documentary “On The Bride’s Side” (“Gelin Tarafı”, “Io Sto Con La Sposa”). The film tells the real story of five Palestinian and Syrian refugees who landed in Lampedusa and then staged a fake marriage in order to reach Sweden. Gabriele launched a solidarity call once again, but this time he is in need of solidarity. Continue reading #OnGabriele’sSide

HarekAct Statement: One year after the EU-Turkey Deal

Today is the first anniversary of the signature of the EU-Turkey statement, commonly known as the EU-Turkey Deal, which aimed at stopping the arrival of asylum seekers and migrants in the EU. It was signed on 18th March 2016 as an answer to the “long summer of migration”1 in 2015, when thousands of people made use of their human right to freedom of movement and crossed from Turkey to Greece in order to continue further into Europe. The deal aims at reducing the number of migrants and refugees reaching Europe in return for certain promises to Turkey: visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, financial aid for the reception of deported migrants and accelerated EU membership talks. Continue reading HarekAct Statement: One year after the EU-Turkey Deal

The EU – Turkey Deal One Year On: The Rise of Walls of Shame

ECRE op-ed by Cavidan Soykan on year after the EU-Turkey Deal. She is a member of Mülteci-Der and an independent researcher working on the Turkish asylum system

This week marks the anniversary of the controversial EU–Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016. The Statement placed responsibility for halting irregular crossings and deaths in the Aegean Sea in the hands of two countries: Greece and Turkey.

The Statement is a prime example of externalization policy, an attempt to harden the borders of the EU against unwanted migration through readmission agreements and prevention of access to asylum in Europe. However, the fear generated in Greece and Turkey that their territory would become a buffer zone for asylum seekers and refugees who failed to reach other European countries has led them to imitate the same restrictive strategies. Continue reading The EU – Turkey Deal One Year On: The Rise of Walls of Shame

Bilmek İstiyoruz! // We Want to Know!

Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı – Recently, we hear often that as a result of police operations in certain district, people of “foreign origin” are “caught”, detained, and sent to camps or detention center. We only get the news that they will be deported, but there is no information on what were they accused of actually. In Istanbul, sometimes police and municipal police teams pick up migrants (mostly children) accused of getting involved in begging, and send them to Pendik Kızılay Dr. Kemal Demir Refugee Camp. At the target of all these operations, there are undocumented migrants, people of certain nationalities, or those who are accused of a suspicion of “terror” or other crimes. No information is made public other than the number (and sometimes nationalities) of people arrested. For instance, according to some news published on 1st of February it was declared that “203 people of foreign origin were detained”, and that they will be sent to General Directorate of Migration Management and deported. However, there was nothing else made public, but that people who were detained were processed according to “violation of document” and that such inspections will further continue in the following days. Continue reading Bilmek İstiyoruz! // We Want to Know!