From Assos to Lesbos: In the Aegean Sea

by Didem Danış, 5.7.2017

I saw lightning in the east
in a wink
then west
I saw the sun dripping
in its blood
and the sea agitated
and the past robbed of its books.

•••

Suffering Syrians, beautiful Syrians, Syrian brothers fleeing death.
You won’t reach the shores on rafts but will be born on beaches with the foam.
Lost gold dust you are, melted gold dust, scattered, dulled.
From abyss to abyss in the hollow of the sea of the Rum, with the star fish and her brother, the roving squid, the waves convey you under the light of Ursa Major, the Daughters of Na’sh.

From ‘Boat to Lesbos’, by Nouri Al-Jarrah


I came across Önder Tokuç, an artist based in Assos, whose “The Aegean Sea” collection has taken me back to the epic poem “Boat to Lesbos” written by Nouri Al-Jarrah. The Syrian poet who lives in exile since 1986 describes the Aegean Sea like a huge bloodstain. This was exactly what pushed Önder Tokuç to produce his powerful art works, consisting of ceramic statues and oil on canvas paintings.

İnsani Yardım – Humanitarian assistance

Continue reading From Assos to Lesbos: In the Aegean Sea

One Iraqi stabbed in brawl between locals, refugees in Ankara

Via Hurriyet Daily News – One Iraqi was stabbed in a brawl between locals and a group of Iraqis and Syrians in the Turkish capital Ankara on July 3, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported. Tension rose due to unknown reasons between locals and Iraqis before an Iraqi Turkmen was stabbed during the brawl, and later taken to hospital in Ankara’s Yenimahalle district.

Following the brawl, several locals and the refugees were involved in another fight, in which seven Syrian and Iraqi Turkmens were injured. Locals living in Yenimahalle’s Demetevler neighborhood attacked workplaces and houses, where the refugees have settled after escaping from their war-torn countries, with sticks and stones. Continue reading One Iraqi stabbed in brawl between locals, refugees in Ankara

Arbitrary Detention in Lesbos – Refugees Driven to Hunger Strike to Protest Inhumane Conditions

The Legal Center Lesbos condemns the unlawful practice of indiscriminately detaining people who are in the process of applying for international protection. The Greek Asylum Service is currently automatically detaining applicants whose initial appeals have been rejected, and arbitrarily detaining people of certain nationalities for the entire duration of their applications.

via Legal Center Lesvos
via Legal Center Lesvos

Continue reading Arbitrary Detention in Lesbos – Refugees Driven to Hunger Strike to Protest Inhumane Conditions

Greek Coast Guards hindering civil rescue operations

NoBorder Greece on how the Greek coast guards is hindering civil rescue operations in the Aegean, North of Lesvos and support for refugees arriving:

photo: Platanos Refugee Solidarity Lesvos (archive)

“The coast guard and authorities are making it harder and harder for the volunteers and rescue boats to operate here in the north of Lesvos. For weeks now volunteer rescue boats are not allowed to launch unless they ask 24hrs in advance. They are not being given permission to launch when there is an incident in spite of the fact that they are close by and the coast guard can take 40 minutes. They are only allowed to launch once a day if they are given permission, we are not sure what law they are applying, issuing fines to rescue boats for any infraction and it is not always clear why. Continue reading Greek Coast Guards hindering civil rescue operations

Syrian women in Turkey’s refugee camps forced into prostitution

The Stockholm Center for Freedom reports about forced prostitutions of female Syrians in AFAD-run refugee camps:

Syrian women who had to fled from their war-torn country to Turkey with their families have been forced into prostitution in the refugee camps, which have been administered by Turkish state-run AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) in Elbeyli district of Kilis province and Islahiye district of Gaziantep province, reported by pro-Kurdish Dihaber news agency. Continue reading Syrian women in Turkey’s refugee camps forced into prostitution

Reporting on the Turkish-EU Border Regime