Category Archives: Monitoring the EU-Turkey Deal

In the following months, we will extend our focus further to Europe by reporting on the EU-Turkey Deal and its consequences for migrants in Greece. A cooperation with activists on Lesvos allows HarekAct to expand its monitoring to the Aegean islands, focusing in particular the situation refugees and migrants stranded there are facing due to the EU-Turkey Statement, deportations back to Turkey and legal aspects. 

Articles under this section will be tagged with #MonitoringEUTurkey

Re-thinking EU-Turkey co-operation over migration

Via Open Democracy –  Turkey’s military offensive in Afrin is also an example of how refugees are instrumentalized to gain domestic support for foreign policy ambitions.

From integration policies to electoral politics, migration is often discussed as a domestic policy issue. Yet rarely does its possible connection with foreign policy attract attention (see a few exceptions).

One recent example is Megan Barlow’s latest openDemocracy article where she argues that the Turkish government employs refugees not only as political tools for foreign ambitions, but also for reinforcing a conservative and Islamist ideology. My argument follows the same line of thought by situating Turkey’s instrumentalization of refugees in the context of its co-operation with the EU over migration.

Continue reading Re-thinking EU-Turkey co-operation over migration

Human Rights Watch report: push backs of Syrian refugees by Turkey

Via ECRE – On March 22 Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported interceptions of large groups of Syrian refugees by Turkish security forces who since Deecember 2017 have “summarily deported them to the war-ravaged Idlib governorate in Syria.” In its reponse the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) in Turkey’s Ministry of Interior denies the allegations and underlined the fact that Turkey offers temporary protection to more than 3.5 million Syrians. Continue reading Human Rights Watch report: push backs of Syrian refugees by Turkey

Expert Views: The E.U.-Turkey Deal After Two Years

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Via Newsdeeply – On the second anniversary of the E.U.-Turkey deal that curbed refugee boats to Greece, experts from Turkey, Greece and Germany weigh in on the agreement’s impact on refugees and on Europe.

The E.U.-Turkey statement of March 20, 2016, was a turning point in Europe’s crisis over refugees.

Under the deal, Turkey would prevent boats leaving its shores for Greece, while Athens would return arriving migrants to Turkey. In exchange, the E.U. would increase funding and resettlement for refugees in Turkey, along with other political sweeteners.

Very little of the deal’s original provisions have been implemented, but the number of boats did drop drastically (while continuing to fluctuate, just as the journey continues to be deadly). Coming after 1 million people arrived in Europe in 2015, E.U. policymakers continue to defend the deal as a major success.

At the same time, human rights groups say many of their warnings about the agreement have been realized: Refugees are warehoused in dire conditions on the Greek islands while Turkey threatens a new surge in refugee boats to ward off criticism about its human rights situation.

On the second anniversary of its signing, we asked experts from Turkey, Greece and Germany weigh in on the agreement’s impact on refugees and on Europe.
Continue reading Expert Views: The E.U.-Turkey Deal After Two Years

EU to offer Turkey more cash for Syrian refugees before Erdogan meeting

Via Reuters – The European Union’s executive is due to approve a further 3 billion euros (2.66 billion pounds) in funding for Syrian refugees living in Turkey, EU officials said, before a meeting with President Tayyip Erdogan later this month.

Europe’s relations with Erdogan have been fraught in recent years but the EU depends on Turkey to keep a tight lid on immigration from the Middle East, where the war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands and pushed millions from homes. Continue reading EU to offer Turkey more cash for Syrian refugees before Erdogan meeting

Humiliating Reception Conditions as a Deterrent to Prevent Refugee Arrivals on the Aegean Islands

Via RSA In the framework of their campaign #StopTheToxicdeal RSA and PROASYL publish today the first topic that concerns reception conditions.

Two years after the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (‘deal’), the very poor reception conditions in the hot spots of the Aegean coupled with the policy of geographical restriction are two of the most important deterrence factors for refugee flows from Turkey. Continue reading Humiliating Reception Conditions as a Deterrent to Prevent Refugee Arrivals on the Aegean Islands

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 

“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

Pushed back to Turkey despite legal refugee status in Germany

Via AYSThe 23 year old Syrian refugee K. went from Germany to Greece to meet his younger brother who were supposed to come from Turkey by the end of November 2016. When he looked for him in Didimoticho, Greece, showing a photo of the 11-year old brother, he was arrested. 14 months later, K. is back in Greece after being pushed back to Turkey with 50 other migrants on the 30th of November 2016.

K.’s documents were basically thrown away, just as 14 months of his life. Photo: Vasco Gargalo (Art Against)
K.’s documents were basically thrown away, just as 14 months of his life. Photo: Vasco Gargalo (Art Against)

Continue reading Pushed back to Turkey despite legal refugee status in Germany