Bordermonitoring Bulgaria – Yesterday, the Bulgarian border police found the corpse of a woman near the village of Ravadinovo in southeastern Bulgaria. A group of 31 migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, which was detained one day before, said to the authorities they had to leave the woman, because she was too weak to go on. Two other members of the group, 14-and 16-year old girls, were brought to hospital because of frostbite.
This is the first human being who was killed by the European border system in Bulgaria, in 2017. Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) argues that the new installed European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which came into force on October the 6th 2016 at Bulgaria’s Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint, cannot stop incidents like this. Therefore, it is tremendously important to create legal passages to prevent these kind of tragedies.
Al Monitor (article from Nov 30) – Mohammed Zaghnoun, a refugee from Aleppo, arrived in Turkey two years ago and considers himself relatively fortunate. He earns 1,500 Turkish liras ($436) a month, 200 liras ($58) above the minimum wage, in a furniture factory in Ankara. Many of the 3 million Syrians in Turkey don’t even have a job. But Zaghnoun works 12 hours a day, five and a half days a week — one-and-a-half times as long as the legal working week. The Turk working next to him, doing the same job, earns 47% more and receives health insurance. In short, Zaghnoun is horrendously exploited.
Asked if anything could be done to stop the exploitation of Syrians, Carmikli said, “Society doesn’t see it as exploitation. Nobody says to the employers ‘What are you doing to these people? You’re exploiting them.’ No, instead they’re saying, ‘It’s good that you’re hiring them. You’re helping them out.’ It’s a totally different mindset that we’re facing here.”
Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione – Between June 15th and 19th 2016, a team of around forty people (lawyers, legal advisors and mediators), coordinated by A.S.G.I. , visited six different areas in Greece 3 , aiming at carrying out a juridical observation of what is happening in the country, following the Declaration signed March 17th and 18th , 2016 5 by the heads of state and the Government of the European Union and Turkey, and known as the “EU-Turkey statement”.
The legal position of the asylum seekers on the land is different from that of the ones “stuck” on the islands. The two geographical positions imply the application of different norms and practices.
Basically, those who arrived in Greece after March 20th , 2016, are the ones that are mainly affected by the agreement dated March 18th , 2016 (inadmissibility procedures and risk of re-admittance to
Turkey) and live on the islands (some in custody) by virtue of a government expulsion ban. The other ones, who reached Greece before March 20th , 2016, live on the remaining part of the Greek territory.
KaosGL.org (text only in Turkish) – A Syrian trans-gender refugee woman has been murdered in her apartment in Istanbul. The association ‘Istanbul LGBTI and Woman Solidarity Foundation’ is now trying to arrange the funeral. In her statement, Kıvılcım Arat from Istanbul LGBTI emphasized that it was both an anti-immigrant and transphobic attack.
On Saturday, December 17, a person pretending to be a customer stabbed the sexworker Werde to death, with several stabs to her belly. The police which is investigating the crime scene could not identify the attacker from the video recordings. Werde’s friends went to the Forensic Medicine Institute on Sunday December 18 but they were denied to carry out the funeral. Her friends said that Werde’s body was unrecognizable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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),