Greek authorities say they have returned 13 Syrian refugees to Turkey under an agreement between that country and the European Union to stop the flow of migrants and refugees to Europe. Police said the six men, three women and four children were flown Thursday from the island of Chios to Adana in Turkey on a flight chartered by Frontex, the European border patrol agency. It said those returned had not applied for asylum and returned voluntarily.
New Europe – The European Council on Justice and Home Affairs is applying pressure on Greece over a recent statement about the EU-Turkey migration deal. They are urging Athens to recognise Turkey as a safe third-country. “We have to make clear to Greece that the vast majority of member states consider Turkey a safe country for Syrians to be returned to,” stressed one diplomatic source on June 8, prior to the Justice and Home Affairs Council that is slated to be held in Luxembourg on June 9-10.
Ekathimerini – Fears are rising about the possible breakdown of a deal between the European Union and Turkey for the return of migrants after legal committees in Greece upheld dozens of appeals by refugees against their deportation. By late Monday, Greek appeals committees had ruled in favor of 35 refugees, ruling that Turkey is “an unsafe country.” Only two rulings overturned appeals by refugees against their deportation.
Daily Sabah – The agreement between Turkey and the EU that will facilitate visa liberalization for Turkish nationals and allow readmission of Syrian refugees who enter Europe illegally is practically shelved due to ongoing disagreements, according to sources from the Foreign Ministry. The Turkey-EU agreement that will pave the way for visa liberalization was initially signed on Dec. 16, 2013 and was later included in the comprehensive refugee deal by both parties. Although Brussels says the deal will succeed, it also requires Turkey to meet the EU’s 72 benchmarks, which include narrowing its counterterrorism laws.
Pro Asyl – The Human Rights Organisation Multeci-DER is part of the PRO ASYL project »Refugee Support Program Aegean« (RSPA). Multeci-Der is monitoring the situation of refugees along the westcoast of Turkey, especially in Izmir. Fritz Rickert interviewed Irem Somer, RSPA – project coordinator of Multeci-Der about their work and occuring problems.
ProAsyl – Yesterday evening three lawyers cooperating with PRO ASYL, a local Greek lawyer and the Greek Council for Refugees applied for interim measures at the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg in order to stop the imminent deportation of a Syrian persecuted by ISIS from Greece to Turkey. This is the first case under the EU-Turkey Deal reaching the ECHR.
The Press Project – The first deportation of a Syrian citizen is going to be carried out on Thursday in Lesvos, after the final rejection of his asylum petition. The asylum request was rejected on the second, and final degree, while the petitioner has not been called for a vis-a-vis hearing.
Amnesty International – On 18 March 2016, the EU and Turkey agreed to a far-reaching migration control deal, under which Turkey would take back all “irregular migrants” who reached the Greek islands. The main justification for the EU-Turkey Deal is the assumption that Turkey is a safe place to which asylum-seekers and refugees can be returned. This briefing exposes this assumption as a fiction.
ProAsyl – Yesterday night three positive decisions by the Administrative Appeals Committee of Lesbos were published. Lawyers of the PRO ASYL project “Refugee Support Program in the Aegean (RSPA)” represented nine Syrian protection seekers before the second instance on 20 and 21 April. The concerned asylum seekers were greatly relieved to receive the news that their deportation to Turkey has now been stopped. By now ten decisions by Appeals Committees have been published in which it is asserted that Turkey is no “safe third country” for Syrian refugees.
Watch the Med Alarm Phone –
For most of the past five weeks, the Alarm Phone remained largely silent. Whereas a few weeks ago we received dozens of calls from the Aegean region per week, sometimes even per day, the new deterrence measures between Greece and Turkey have resulted in fewer attempted sea crossings and the Alarm Phone was not involved in any emergency situations in this region. In the five weeks that this report covers, we witnessed a remarkable increase of crossings from Libya to Italy and were alerted to 7 cases of boats in distress at sea in the Central Mediterranean. For the first time in months, Syrians and Iraqis were amongst these cross-border travellers trying to reach Italy and in several harrowing shipwrecks hundreds of people lost their lives.