Via Ekathimerini – More than 1.800 migrants arrived on the Greeks islands in January, according to the European Border and Coast Agency Frontex on Tuesday. The number of arrivals in January, mostly Syrian and Iraqi nationals, represented a 43 percent drop compared to the previous month.
Via Turkish Minute – At least three people died and five others were missing after a boat carrying a group of eight capsized on Tuesday in the Maritsa River while seeking to escape a post-coup crackdown in Turkey.
According to Turkish media reports, the dead were identified as Ayşe Abdurrezzak, a 37-year-old teacher who was earlier dismissed from her job in the crackdown, and her children Abdulkadir Enes Abdurrezzak (11) and Halil Munir Abdurrezzak (3).
Via Ekathimerini – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim on Tuesday evening amid rising tension in the Aegean.
Tsipras reportedly told Yildirim that incidents such as the one on Monday night, when a Turkish coast guard boat rammed a Greek patrol vessel, undermine Turkey’s relations with Greece and the European Union and contravene international law.
The Greek leader called for Turkey to end its breaches of Greece’s air space and territorial waters and for there to be de-escalation in the region. Continue reading Tsipras speaks to Turkish PM amid increasing tension in Aegean
Via Ekathimerini – A Turkish patrol boat reportedly rammed a Greek coast guard vessel that was anchored off the island of Imia in the Aegean at around midnight on Monday.
The incident did not result in any no injuries but only minor damage to the stern of the Greek vessel, yet it serves to illustrate the heightened tension in the area where Greece and Turkey came on the brink of war 22 years ago. Continue reading Turkish coast guard vessel rams Greek patrol boat off Imia
Via the Independent Balkan News Agency – Members of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee are on a three-day visit to Bulgaria to see first-hand how Frontex operations work at the border with Turkey.
The MEPs are to visit the region of the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, where Frontex supports national authorities in carrying out border checks and gathering intelligence, the European Parliament said. Continue reading MEPs visit Bulgaria to inspect Frontex operations at Turkish border
Via Al-Monitor – “Erdogan seems to realize that the political and economic price of breaking up with the EU is growing bigger. He has taken up the issue of EU membership anew, including during recent trips to France and Italy, amid growing talk of normalizing ties with the EU. On Feb. 7, Turkey submitted documents to the European Commission, saying it had fulfilled the outstanding criteria for the visa waiver. “The ball is now in the EU’s court,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.” Continue reading Turkey’s quest for EU visa waiver more likely to cause strife than progress
The New Arab published a story on February 2nd on IOM ‘voluntary return programme’: “A scheme to repatriate refugees whose asylum bids have been rejected amounts to bullying and bribing desperate people to return to desperate situations, reports Matt Broomfield.” Valeria Hänsel also wrote on that same issue for HarekAct two weeks back.
Via The New Arab – A “voluntary” returns programme being heavily marketed to refugees is leaving them stranded in inhumane conditions in Greek and Turkish jails for months at a time, and facing imprisonment and torture once they return to their home countries – if they are ever able to get there at all.
For many refugees arriving in Greece and Turkey, whose claims for asylum are rejected, the International Organisation for Migration‘s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme is effectively the only alternative to brutal jail systems. They are forced to give up their right to appeal their asylum decision in order to escape six or 12 months of confinement by accepting “voluntary” return. Continue reading Investigation: Coercive ‘voluntary’ deportations leave refugees trapped in jail
The Legal Center Lesvos regularly publishes report on the current situation for migrants on Lesvos. Here is their latest report on January 2018:
VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS EXPOSED AT EUROPE’S BORDERS
At the close of 2017 in the period since our last report, the inhumane treatment of migrants in Lesvos continues to be widely reported on and denounced by refugees and migrants, solidarity activists, the media, and human rights organizations. In response to this pressure, in November and December roughly 3000 asylum seekers were transferred from Lesvos to mainland Greece and Crete. However during the same time period approximately the same number of individuals arrived to Lesvos from Turkey. Continue reading January 2018 Report on Rights Violations and Resistance in Lesvos
Via Hürriyet Daily News – Although polarized on various political issues, the Turkish people share the most similar views over Syrian refugees in the country, a survey conducted by the Istanbul Bilgi University Center for Migration Research in partnership with the German Marshall Fund (GMF) revealed on Feb. 5.
Some 86.2 percent of the survey participants agreed that “Syrians should be sent back to their country once the war in Syria has ended,” according to the findings in the survey titled “Research on Polarization’s Dimensions in Turkey.” Continue reading Politically polarized Turkey finds largest common ground in Syrian refugees’ return
Via Diken (Link in Turkish) – Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk went to Syria’s Afrin region, where the ‘Operation of the Olive Tree’ was carried out.
Fisk wrote their impressions of the civilian population: “Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria appeared the real victims – migrants, babies, women and children”.