Reporting from the kritnet conference Göttingen – Part 1
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!
With the so-called “summer of migration” three years behind us, and the European borders still sealed tight, it seems a good opportunity to remind ourselves of where these migrants are currently waiting, and what has happened since then. With this intention, I will here try to present an overview of the post-2015 migration context and the related management regime in Istanbul, Turkey.
To set the time frame, it should firstly be highlighted that Turkey’s “open border” policy on the Syrian border was effectively ended by March 2015, and was replaced with the militarization of border security through the erecting of border walls.
Border wall at the Turkey-Syria border. Photo by: sabah.com.
Saad Abdllah reports for the Samos Chronicles about a forced deportation from Turkey to Syria. His friend Mohammad was attempting to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece by boat with other migrants when they were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard shortly after starting. They were then detained for 6 days, loaded onto a bus without knowing the destination and finally ended up in Idlib, Syria.
Little is known on what happens to migrants who are being picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard, Police or Gendarmery when trying to irregularly cross to Greece, except these horrific single stories of detention and forced deportation. We would like to ask our readers to share their knowledge, insights, articles and contributions on this issue with us! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Via Samos Chronicles (19th June) – For the past ten days I have been waiting for news from Mohammad. Like me he comes from Aleppo but for the past 6 years he has been with his mother and brother living in Istanbul. Mohammad is 18 years old.
We became friends through Facebook where he saw that I was involved with many refugees in Athens and in Samos. He had read my story in the Samos Chronicles. As a young gay man he turned to me for advice and help which I was happy to give. Over the past six months we have talked a lot and a good friendship has developed. I know that he trusts me.
Via Afghanistan Analysts – In a recent television appearance, the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, said that 15,000 Afghans have been sent back home from Turkey. While it is likely that this number has been exaggerated, there is no doubt that in April and May of 2018, thousands of Afghan migrants were sent back on charter flights from Turkey to Kabul. This is the Turkish government’s response after a 400 per cent increase in arrivals of Afghan migrants to Turkey during the first quarter of 2018. In early April of this year, the first charter flight carrying Afghans back to Kabul flew out of Erzurum, a city in eastern Anatolia that has become the centre of these returns. AAN’s guest author Amy Pitonak visited Erzurum to find out first-hand about the situation for Afghans there.
Via Legal Centre Lesbos – In the months since our last update on rights violations and resistance in Lesvos, our advocacy and campaigning resources were almost exclusively focused on the two trials for the Moria 35 and Moria 10 that took place in Chios in late April and early May 2018.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Valentin Radev and his Turkish counterpart Süleyman Soylu met in Edirne on May 29 for a workshop on border security and co-operation, the first such workshop on the topic of its kind between the two countries.
The main focus of the talks was the efforts made by the two countries to ensure the security of the most sensitive external European border – the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint, Bulgarian National Television reported.
Via Hurriyet Daily News(16th May 2018) – The EU warned on May 16 that asylum seeker arrivals from Turkey have surged this year and called on member countries to act urgently on pledges of support for the bloc’s border force.
Via Bosphorus Migration Studies(7th May 2018) – After the EU-Turkey readmission plan, the migrant flows in the Aegean Sea are decreased. However, raised concerns on human rights abuses leaded us to follow recent steps taken by the governments. Orçun Ulusoy and Jill Alpes, prominent scholars working on this topic answered Mehmet Enes Beşer‘s questions.
Why do you think there is limited access to people who have been readmitted from Greece to Turkey? Is it mostly due to lack of research on the part of international organisations or lack of data provided by both countries?
Valeria Hänsel, who contributes to HarekAct with her insights on the situation for refugees on Lesvos focusing on detention and deportations, wrote a report in German about the trial against the #Moria35 that took place last month in Chios.
Following a few abstracts:
“32 of the 35 defendants were collectively convicted for injuring a police officer in a four-day trial. They should go to jail for 26 month, though this penalty is temporarily suspended.
Vassilis Kerasiotis and Gina Palaialogou, the defendends of the convicts, lodged an appeal immediately after the process. Until a decision is made, all convicts are free. Palaialogou comments on the verdict: “The decision was a compromise. Due to political reasons an acquittal in the first instance would hardly have been possible. In that case, they would have needed a justification and compensation for the detention for a duration of 9 nine month before the trial and the police statements would have needed to be falsified. ”
Via ANSA med – Turkish authorities have apprehended over the past week a total of 5,371 migrants and refugees who were trying to illegally cross the borders with the European Union or to enter the country, the Turkish interior ministry has said. They included 389 who were intercepted at sea, it said. The ministry also said that 136 suspected human traffickers were arrested. Continue reading Migrants: over 5,000 apprehended in Turkey in 7 days→
Via Milliyet(Link in Turkish) – 154 migrants were caught in Dikili, a district of Izmir, while they were trying to cross to the Greek island Lesvos by rubber boats. The Coast Guard teams intervened and intercepted 154 migrants, including women and children, mostly from Syrian, Cameroon, Ghana, Angola and Senegal. They were first brought to the Dikili Coast Guard Command. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided humanitarian assistance for them. It is stated that they will be sent to the Izmir Provincial Directorate of Migration after the proceedings.