Anadolu Agency* – A total of 422 migrants were intercepted by Turkish police over the last week (Jan 27 – Feb 3) en route to Greek islands, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.
Coast Guard patrols apprehended 56 migrants offshore trying to cross the Aegean Sea between the southwestern Bodrum peninsula and the Greek island of Kos. The statement said that in the resort town of Cesme, west of Izmir province, Coast Guard patrols also apprehended 85 migrants aiming to reach the Greek island of Chios. In separate incidents, 281 migrants were also spotted in the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean Sea, the ministry said.
*the source is the Turkish state-run news agency
Hürriyet Daily News – Turkey stated on Feb. 3 that Greece had “forcefully” sent thousands of migrants back to Turkey via the River Evros in recent months. Officials from the Directorate General of Migration Management, which works under the Interior Ministry, said that Greece sent back more than 3,000 migrants to Turkey in the past four months. The officials requested anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media. They said Greece was not abiding by the readmission agreement between Turkey and Greece, while also disregarding international laws on human rights.
We published a paper on the EU-Turkey deal and how refugees in Turkey are being instrumentalized and used as bargain written by Nicolas Parent in late summer last year. Read the paper here
Anadolu Ajansi (Link in Turkish) – According to state-run press agency Anadolu Ajansi 211 people were taken into custody during a so called security operation in Istanbul. The operation mainly involved foreign nationals and was conducted by riot police and anti-terror teams.
110 people were detained in Zeytinburnu, 75 in Sultangazi, 18 in Pendik and 8 in Başakşehir. 203 of the arrested were foreign nationals. As the news agency announced, those who have entered the country irregular or with irregularities in their documents, will be handed over to the immigration authorities and from there deported. The operation is supposed to endure the upcoming days.
News Deeply – European Officials are becoming increasingly worried that the E.U.-Turkey deal could fall apart. With few returns and thousands of people trapped on the Greek islands, the E.U. is encouraging stronger measures – such as opening more detention centers on the islands to speed up asylum proceedings and facilitate deportations – to rescue the deal.
The new informal action plan envisages boosting the capacity of the EASOand Greek Asylum Service on the islands to process more asylum applications. It also aims to expand the criteria of which asylum seekers are eligible for returns, including vulnerable individuals eligible for family reunification in the E.U., who are currently excluded. This provision could even allow the return of unaccompanied minors to Turkey.
Ekathimerini – A 46-year-old Syrian man was found dead in his tent in the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos on Saturday morning. He was the second person to die at the facility last week, after the death of a 22-year-old Egyptian man a few days earlier.
The deaths have highlighted the poor conditions that refugees face at camps on the Greek islands, especially during the current cold weather.
Al Jazeera – Turkey has demanded the retrial of eight soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup last year and said it may take measures, including scrapping an agreement on refugees and migrants with Athens, after a Greek court rejected an extradition request.
Greece’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against extraditing the soldiers, who have sought political asylum, saying they feared for their lives in Turkey. Ankara says they were involved in the July 15 coup attempt and branded them traitors.
Evrensel (link in Turkish) – According to the annual report of Istanbul Workers Health and Work Safety Assembly (İstanbul İşçi Sağlığı ve İş Güvenliği Meclisi ) 96 migrant workers have died in 2016 due to insecure working conditions. 7 of them were underaged minors from Afghanistan and Syria. Most of them have been working in the construction sector. The report shows that the number of migrants who lost their lives at the workplace has significantly increased during the last years and points to serious problems in working conditions concerning health and safety in Turkey.
Heinrich Böll Stiftung Turkey – “Welcome to Turkey” is a collective effort that intends to listen to the stories of the Syrians living in Turkey through their very own words. It is an outcome of a personal discomfort on the dominant representation of the refugees; a wish to make a small contribution to the struggle against the increasing xenophobia; a projection of the word uttered to the people who decide to live here in Turkey. It doesn’t claim to “represent” the Syrians living in Turkey, but attempts to uproot the negative stereotyping about them.
Ekathimerini – Police in a region of Greece that borders Turkey say another person has died of hypothermia on a route used by migrant smugglers despite freezing temperatures. Authorities said the body of a man was discovered buried in snow outside a Greek village on Monday. They think he probably died over the weekend.
The man was the second to succumb to the cold in less than two weeks. Another died of hypothermia in the same area on January 3. In a separate incident, a migrant man was being treated at a nearby hospital for symptoms of frostbite.
Greek authorities have reported a recent surge in the number of people attempting to reach Europe while avoiding detention on the Greek islands by crossing a river that divides Turkey and Greece.