Syrian refugees in Turkey face calls to return as public mood changes. For years, most Turks courteously accepted the Syrians fleeing to their country. But attitudes towards refugees appear to be hardening, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has hinted the solution could lie in Afrin, the Kurdish enclave in northwestern Syria his troops have just occupied.
Via Deutsche Welle(from 2nd March)– Turkey’s offensive on Afrin will oust the “terrorist menace” and will ensure the return of Syrian refugees – that’s been the message of President Erdogan. He’s catering to his voters, says DW’s Dorian Jones in Istanbul.
“We are not in a position to continue hosting 3.5 million refugees forever. We’ll solve the Afrin situation … and we would like our refugee brothers and sisters to return to their own country,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared earlier this month, speaking to provincial leaders at his presidential palace.
This was a remarkable turnaround for Erdogan and his government.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war, Turkey has pursued an open-door policy for those fleeing the conflict. “We regard you as our brothers and sisters … Turkey is also your homeland,” Erdogan told refugees at the Syrian border during Ramadan 2016 — even offering them Turkish nationality if they wanted it.
Via Deutschlandfunk(Link in German) – Turkey is hosting many Syrian refugees. The Turkish government always emphasized their hospitality towards the Muslim brothers. But more and more aid organizations complain about attacks against migrants.They report a pogrom-like mood against Syrians in some major cities.
Via Hürriyet Daily News – An autopsy conducted at the Famagusta State Hospital into the recent killing of a Nigerian student in the Turkish Cypriot town of Famagusta has confirmed that he died of a cerebral haemorrhage caused by severe blows to the head.
Via Al-Monitor– Turkey is rightly commended for hosting over 3 million Syrian refugees fleeing the nearly seven-year-old conflict that continues to wrack their country in new and ghastly iterations. Acts of overt aggression against the “guests,” as Turkey formally labels them, are astonishingly rare. But a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) published this week raises alarm bells over their future. Continue reading Hostility toward Syrians could explode in Turkey, ICG warns→
The International Crisis Group published a new reporton intercommunal violence between Turkish host communities and Syrian refugees in Turkey’s three largest cities: Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
Host community hostility toward Syrian refugees is on the rise in Turkey’s metropolitan areas. In order to defuse tensions and mitigate rising intercommunal tensions, Ankara and its international partners should support long-term strategies for the Syrians’ sustainable integration.
Deutsche Welle in Turkish reports about the issue of forced and second marriage of Syrian women in Turkey, a phenomenon which started to be widespread in Turkey. A website called “Syrian Women” is giving advice to Turkish men on how to find and marry Syrian women.
“Syrian women wanting to marry – what are Syrian women like? – how are Syrian women dressed?” The website is full of sexist stereotypes of women, who had to migrate from Syria Turkey:
“Syrian women are delicate beings like our women. The number of young men who want to get married to Syrian women has increased and the desire of married men who want to be with Syrian women has increased as well. Since Syrian women do not set official marriage conditions, men can start living with them”.
İzmir, a city where 120,000 registered refugees live, has a lot of meaning for refugees. For some, it is a stop on their way to Europe when passing over by boats, for others, it is a city they come to in order to find seasonal work on the fields.
Seasonal agricultural labor in Turkey is not an issue that started with Syrian refugees. For years, Kurdish workers, mostly coming from the east and southeast of Turkey, have been working in agricultural areas in the Aegean, Çukurova, at the Black Sea and in Central Anatolia. There have been dozens of academic studies, news and documentaries on this issue, and it is still being studied today. In every respect, seasonal agricultural labor is a great burden to workers and must be considered as injustice. Continue reading Seasonal Agricultural Labor in Turkey: The Case of Torbalı→
The Greek island of Lesvos is going through a period of strong protests. Across all political camps, the people on the island refuse to carry out the European policy measures which are transforming Lesvos into an open-air prison for refugees on the edge of Europe. Groups that are strongly divided by ideological convictions, including local left wing, moderate and right wing groups, refugees and international activists share one concern: They oppose the situation created by the EU-Turkey statement.
While right wing groups are driven by racist sentiments, the majority of protesters does not longer accept the dehumanizing living conditions in the European “Hotspot Camp” Moria. More than 6.000 people are forced to live in overcrowded containers or in small summer tents and are exposed to wind and weather without adequate protection. Some have been forced to live under these conditions for more than 18 months and six people have died in Moria during the last winter.
To make this situation visible and fight for freedom of movement, there have been several protests marches and refugees have occupied space on the central Sappho Square in Lesvos’ capital Mytilene for the whole of November. When the police evicted the square, they occupied the local office of the ruling party SYRIZA with the support of local antifascists.