Category Archives: News

HarekAct offers a topical and chronological collection of news on the EU-Turkish border regime under this section. We link to external newspapers and websites and do not hold the copyright.
Views and opinions expressed in the articles published on HarekAct are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of all editorial board members.

Boat carrying 13 refugees sinks in Aegean, killing 5 people

World Bulletin – Five refugees drowned off Turkey’s Aegean Sea coast after their boat sank, Turkish official said on Tuesday. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Namik Kemal Nazli, the governor of the Ayvalik district of Balikesir province in western Turkey, said eight people were rescued out of the 13 on the boat when it sank near Maden Island. “Four children and a woman died and eight others were rescued. There is three-year-old child among the rescued,” he said.

Of the 4,715 migrants and refugees who lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean, 429 migrants died in the Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece, according to the latest report.

European Union to remove existing guarantees against Turkey returns

Asylum Information Database (AIDA) – The European Commission published today its Fourth Report on the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, which aims to take drastic measures to ensure an increase in the number of returns from Greece to Turkey. Since the statement, 748 people are reported to have returned to Turkey, compared to 20,638 arrivals in Greece since April 2016.

A Joint Action Plan of the EU Coordinator on the implementation of certain provisions of the EU-Turkey Statement outlines several legal and operational modifications to the asylum procedure with a view to stripping away some of the crucial guarantees available to persons entering the Greek islands since 20 March 2016.

EU already payed 677 million Euro

taz (link in German only) – According to the European Commission, the EU already spend a total of 677 million Euro on the migration-agreement with Turkey. The money does not go to the Turkish government but does towards certain projects directly, e.g. projects offering a better supplying or for the foundation of schools for Syrian children.

By now, 1.216 persons have been returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, said the EU-Diplomat.

Turkish Deportees’ Families Want Justice From Bulgaria

Balkan Insight (article from November 11) – While the Sofia authorities insist that seven men deported to Turkey in October never sought asylum in Bulgaria, their families claim the opposite and vow to seek justice in Strasbourg.

“The Bulgarian government gave my brother to a dictator and our family is deeply worried about his security and life,” the brother of one of seven Turkish citizens that Bulgaria deported to Turkey says, referring to Turksh President Recep Erdogan.

He and other relatives of the deportees say the men were sent back to Turkey despite a direct risk of persecution there as alleged supporters of US-based cleric Fetullah Gulen who the authorities in Ankara accuse of masterminding a failed coup in July.

Shooting at the border: How Turkey turns away refugees in the name of Europe

Pro Asyl (link in German) – Turkey already sealed the border to Syria with a wall. Time and time again, refugees report that they were shot at at the border. European politicians remain silent though – no wonder. After all, the EU closed the flight route through the again and is trying to get rid of their humanitarian responsibility by paying millions to Turkey.

Now, those who seek safety do not die in the Aegean anymore but already at the Turkish-Syrian border. Even more far away from Europe: “Out of sight, out of mind” – just as the European politicians wanted it.

The Turkey-EU fallout: Can relations between the EU and Turkey be mended?

AlJazeera – Even though Turkey-EU relations are going through a difficult period, it is unlikely that European leaders will shut their doors to Turkey when they meet. Mutual interest, rather than altruism, stands in the way of complete termination of accession talks, which have achieved little and are going nowhere at present. Europe and Turkey are pointing fingers at each other, but neither side is willing to pull the plug and take all the blame.

(Written by Galip Dalay, senior associate fellow on Turkey and Kurdish Affairs at the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, and research director at Al Sharq Forum),

Reports of Turkey border guards killing Syrians denied

AlJazeera – A senior official from Turkey has rejected accusations that its border guards shot dead dozens of Syrian refugees and beat many others attempting to cross into the country this year.

Yasin Aktay, vice chairman of the ruling AK party, told Al Jazeera the allegations of deadly or excessive force against civilians fleeing the Syrian war were “fabricated”.

Access Info challenges European Commission secrecy around EU-Turkey refugee deal legal advice

Access Info – Access Info Europe is taking the European Commission to the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union to obtain its legal analysis of this year’s controversial EU-Turkey deal on return of refugees to Turkey.

Access Info Europe submitted two access to information requests asking for copies of the Commission’s own evaluation of the legality of what was agreed with Turkey. The Commission denied access to the documents citing protection of legal advice, protection of decision making and protection of international relations. It released only a heavily redacted e-mail.

Border between Syria and Turkey – the death zone

Spiegel Online – Turkey, which has taken in almost 3 million Syrian refugees in recent years, has sealed off its borders in the wake of the spring 2016 refugee deal with the European Union. Syrians who seek to enter Turkey via airplane or ship from a third country, such as Lebanon or Jordan, require a visa, but officials only rarely issue them. And the overland route is blocked.

The German government claims that the Turkey deal stemmed the refugee crisis. In truth, though, the crisis has just been diverted. The wall on the German border that Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to avoid at all costs has been erected instead by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his country’s border with Syria: A three-meter (nearly 10 feet) tall cement barricade that extends for hundreds of kilometers and prevents refugees from entering the country. People may no longer be drowning in the Aegean Sea, where the number of boats embarking from the Turkish coast to the Greek islands dropped significantly as a result of the deal. Instead they are dying at the Turkish-Syrian border.