Council of Europe condemns EU’s refugee deal with Turkey

The Guardian – Europe’s leading human rights body has issued a stinging indictment of the EU’s refugee deal with Turkey, which it said at worst exceeds the limits of what is permissible under international law.

A report from the Council of Europe’s assembly listed numerous concerns on human rights, from keeping migrants in overcrowded and insanitary detention centres on the Greek islands to inadequate legal protection for people seeking to appeal against rejection of an asylum claim.

The situation of refugees and migrants under the EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March 2016

Council of Europe – The EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March 2016 was adopted as a response to the unprecedented numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in western Europe via the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans route. It raises several serious human rights issues relating to the detention of asylum seekers in the “hotspots” on the Greek Aegean islands, the return of asylum seekers to Turkey as a “first country of asylum” or “safe third country”, the Greek asylum system’s inadequate capacity to administer the asylum process in the hotspots and delays in the provision of EU support to Greece, the likely low level of resettlement of refugees from Turkey, and delays in the disbursement of EU financial assistance to Turkey’s efforts to support Syrian refugees.

In order to ensure that human rights and procedural guarantees of international, EU and national law are respected, the Parliamentary Assembly should make recommendations intended to address these issues to Greece as an implementing partner of the Agreement, and to the European Union, its member States and other States participating in EU resettlement and relocation schemes.

Thousands flee for Turkish border after Islamic State launches surprise attack on Syrian refugees

South China Morning Post – A new wave of refugees has fled northern Syria for the Turkish border after Islamic State fighters opened fire on communities that had sheltered them, killing at least three people and uprooting thousands more.

The killings came as the terror group pushed back Syrian opposition forces who had edged to within 8km of Dabiq, a highly symbolic village that the group’s leaders believe is the pre-ordained epicentre of a clash that will herald an apocalyptic showdown .

Deported migrants call for freedom from behind barred windows

EuroNews – Some 325 migrants have been deported to Turkey from the Greek island of Lesbos under an EU deal. They wait to learn of their fate inside a fenced reception and removal centre in the town of Pehlivankoy. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says it has yet to gain access to the facility. Migrants from Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq call for freedom from behind the facility’s barred windows. They were deported from Lesbos on Friday (April 8) under the controversial EU-Turkey deal to stem mass irregular migration to Europe.

Report by Platanos Refugee Solidarity Lesvos on the second deportations to Turkey

Platanos Refugee Solidarity Lesvos – Today at the break of dawn began the second process of deportation, from the harbour of Mitilini, while 174 individuals (100 from Kos, 29 from Samos and 45 from Mitilini) were led to Dikeli, accompanied by an equal number of body guards, that each one was in charge of the “safety” of the transported. Since the night before, the harbour of Mitilini was closed off by forces of Riot police. As the hours passed the presence of police in the area became progressively more intense.

Nearly one-third of Turkey’s wall along Syria complete

Anadolu Agency – Nearly one-third of Turkey’s rocket-resistant concrete wall being built along the border with Syria has been completed, Turkish security sources told Anadolu Agency Thursday. Out of the 911-kilometer long planned wall, 300 kilometers is complete, sources said. 

Turkish Interior Ministry gave nearly 250 million Turkish liras to governorates of border provinces of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Kilis, Gaziantep and Hatay for the construction of the wall, sources said.  So far, the wall along Hatay and Sanliurfa has been mostly completed. The wall, which is expected to get completed next year, will be two-meter wide and three-meter high with seven-ton modular concrete blocks. According to the same sources, razor wire fences would also be placed along the border.

Turkey to establish smart towers on Syrian border

Yeni Şafak – Turkish Defense Ministry said that it plans to establish a smart tower every 300 meters along the border with Syria to prevent illegal crossing. Turkey has already sealed hundreds of kilometers of the border, either with concrete blocks or wire fencing. In the border city of Kilis, the construction of a concrete wall is nearly complete as the ministry started to build smart watch towers at 300-meter intervals.

Reporting on the Turkish-EU Border Regime