European commission faces challenge to grant visa-free travel to Turks

The Guardian – The EU executive on Wednesday gave its provisional blessing to visa-free travel for Turkish tourists and short-stay travellers to the Schengen Area, which excludes the UK and Ireland. It backed the scheme on the condition that Ankara upgrades laws on anti-corruption, terrorism and data protection in the next few weeks. In another important caveat, visa-free travel would only be available to those Turks with biometric passports that include fingerprint recognition chips. Such passports do not exist in Turkey, although the government plans to introduce them from 1 June.

Dispatches: EU Deportations Resume, Troubles Abound

Human Rights Watch – With little fanfare or media attention, the European Union and Greece yesterday quietly resumed deporting “irregular migrants” from Greece to Turkey. After a two-week pause, boats reportedly took 31 people from Kos, 13 from Lesbos, and five from Chios – among them Afghanis, Iranians, and Jordanians. Since April 4, when deportations in connection with the flawed EU-Turkey deal began, Greece and the EU border agency Frontex have deported 375 people from the three islands.

Mülteci-Der’s oberservations on refugee situation in Turkey

Mülteci-Der – It has been reported from various provinces – especially from the provinces near the border with Syria, such as Hatay, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa – that since February 2016, registration of people for temporary protection (TP) has been getting difficult and that there is almost a suspension of issuing of TP registration cards.

Last year in Izmir, there existed five registration centres where police took ID details, finger prints and photos of those who wanted to register, and issued TP ID cards which enabled people under TP to get access to public services, including health and education. The number of registration offices was reduced to two.

 

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.

Reporting on the Turkish-EU Border Regime