Following our attendance at the Kritnet Conference in last May, we finally had the chance to share our contributions in HarekAct. One of our editors focused on the post EU-Turkey deal context in Istanbul, Turkey, which is marked by policies and practices of marginalization, irregularization and criminalization of migrants. The unfavorable conditions in the provision of registration, services and protection, with the implementation of additional mechanisms of securitization, detention and forced deportation, has had the impact of extending the constraints of the global border regime further to directly affect the living experiences of migrants in Istanbul.
In July, Human Rights Watch also published a report on the consequences of Turkey’s suspension of registering Syrians in Istanbul and other nine cities along the Syrian border. The report claims that this practice represents Turkey’s latest efforts in denying new asylum-seekers protection, following the closure of the borders and the shooting at individuals attempting to cross. Ultimately it is forcing Syrians to live under the risk of deportation, without access to urgent services, and having to depend on smugglers inside Turkey.
Turkey warned Greece on Tuesday it would not tolerate a shift in the Greek maritime border, a few days after Athens said it planned to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles to the west of the country.
Territorial waters are a sensitive issue between the two neighbours, who are separated by the Aegean Sea. Turkey and Greece have been at odds over their respective continental shelves for decades.
Turkey has previously warned it could not preclude military action to defend its interests.
Former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who resigned last week, said on Saturday that Athens planned to extend its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea, which flanks the west coast of the country. The planned measure would not affect the Aegean region, off Greece’s eastern and southern coasts.
Turkey’s foreign ministry, however, said that it had noted statements from Athens of plans for the gradual expansion of Greek territorial waters.
At least 376 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said Monday.
In northwestern province of Kirklareli, Turkish gendarmerie units rounded up 136 irregular migrants near the Bulgarian border, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The migrants — nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran — were referred to the immigration office, while four suspects were arrested over human trafficking.
Meanwhile, in the eastern province of Van, 203 irregular migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan were held.
167 of the migrants were held in a house raid, while the other 36, including women and children, were rounded up during regular patrols.
Via The Guardian – Two women and a girl believed to be migrants have been found dead with their throats slashed near Greece’s north-eastern border with Turkey, Greek authorities said.
The victims appeared to be of North African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin, but their nationalities and identities were unknown, police said. An initial examination of the bodies suggested the three were killed about four days earlier, coroner Pavlos Pavlidis said on Wednesday.
Via Ahval –Turkey should seek outside help, rather than trying to handle on its own a possible influx of Syrian refugees due to Syrian government’s expected military offensive in the northwestern city of Idlib, Kemal Kirişci, director of the Brookings Institute Center on the United States and Europe’s Turkey Project, wrote on Thursday.
Idlib, the last major rebel-held enclave in Syria, borders Turkey and hosts an estimated 3 million Syrians currently trapped in the province, around a third of whom are thought to be refugees displaced from other parts of the country.
Along the new migration route through southeastern Europe, migrants are beaten, stranded, and neglected, while the EU looks the other way.
Via Jacobin Magazine – Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small country in the Balkans, is one of the poorest in Europe. Since February, it’s been dealing with an unprecedented wave of migration. The so-called Balkan Route, used by migrants to reach Western Europe from Turkey and Greece, has changed. Previously, this route went across Bulgaria or Macedonia, then Serbia and Hungary, before heading toward Germany or Austria, depending on where people were hoping to end up.
Via Daily Sabah (20th July) –Forty-four illegal immigrants who were apprehended by Turkish troops near the border, claimed they were beaten by Bulgarian police and sent back to Turkey, the İhlas News Agency reported. Migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran were discovered by gendarme troops guarding the border between Turkey and Bulgaria in the Kofçaz district of the Turkish province of Kırklareli on Friday. They told Turkish officials that they crossed into Bulgaria three days ago but were captured by Bulgarian police. They claimed Bulgarian police officers beat them and stole their money and valuable possessions before sending them back to the Turkish side of the border. Continue reading Migrants claim abuse by Bulgarian police→
Reporting from the kritnet conference in Göttingen – Part 2
The HarekAct editorial board attended the 16th kritnet conference in Göttingen between 11-13th of May. It was a very good occasion to share and exchange knowledge, meet our friends, activists and colleagues again and discuss future projects and plans. We took part in the workshop titled “Post 2015 Border Regime – Re-Stabilization of the European Border Regime after the ‘Long Summer of Migration’”. We discussed the extension of borders into the cities following the example of Istanbul; the state of the border regime and public debate on migration in Turkey; and the impact and future of the EU-Turkey statement for both Greece and Turkey. Besides the individual inputs, we had a rich collective discussion with various perspectives, information and experiences brought by activists, researchers and professionals from Germany, Turkey, Greece and Kurdish region, and we are looking forward to keep building on the ideas we had as well as the connections we built there.
Although with a little bit of delay, now we would like to share our contributions to the workshop one by one. Enjoy the inputs presented by HarekAct editors in written and updated form in our blog. Keep posted!
by Lisa Groß
Disobedient Border Crossings…
Since the EU-Turkey Deal, the number of clandestine border crossings has dropped substantially, and the agreement is still deterring many migrants from crossing the Aegean Sea. But that’s not the whole picture: Since April 2016, more than 60.000 people made it across the Aegean, and boats are still landing on the islands on an almost daily basis, despite augmented border control. Recently, the number of migrants arriving on the Greek Aegean islands via the sea are increasing again. While around 3.200 people arrived between April and May 2017, the number almost doubled during the same period in 2018, with circa 6.000 migrants making it safely to Greece. This year up until mid-June, circa 13.000 migrants have crossed from Turkey to Greece, with most of the boats still arriving on Lesvos island (ca. 7.000) (see UNHCR).