Via Bosphorus Migration Studies – Laura Batalla is the Secretary-General of the European Parliament Turkey Forum which is a group comprised of members of the European Parliament who have a keen interest in EU-Turkey relations. Mehmet Enes Beşer made an interview with Mrs. Batalla on the fragile EU-Turkey relations and the future prospects:
“I wouldn’t call it a dispute. However, it is true that we may have hit our lowest point in EU-Turkey relations since accession negotiations started in 2005.” Continue reading Fragile Nature of EU-Turkey Relations: Interview with Laura Batalla
Via Greek Reporter – Council and the European Commission must work urgently with Greece to prevent a humanitarian crisis this winter, according to the he Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament.
The group called for a debate in the parliament’s plenary session next week in Strasbourg. “Thousands of people seeking asylum on the Greek islands still do not have adequate protection for the coming cold months,” said S&D Group President Gianni Pittella. Continue reading EU Parliamentarians Warn Refugees May Die on Greek Islands
Via The Guardian – A surge in refugee arrivals has led to soaring tensions on Greece’s outlying Aegean islands, with Lesbos’s mayor accusing the government in Athens of allowing it to become a giant prison camp.
Boycotting celebrations on Wednesday marking the 105th anniversary of Lesbos’s liberation from Ottoman Turkish rule, local officials gave the leftist-led coalition in Athens an ultimatum: either it took immediate action to decongest the island or risked mass protests from an increasingly unruly population. Continue reading Anger rises in Lesbos over crowded refugee camps
Via University of Oxford / Faculty of Law – Today, Turkey is host to approximately 3.4 million refugees and asylum seekers, including more than 3.2 million Syrians. Due to its strategic location, Turkey has been a transit country for migrants and refugees, a necessary stop on their way to Europe. In 2015, nearly one million people arrived irregularly in Europe by sea, with more than 856,723 refugees and migrants traveling to Greece by sea from Turkey. This explains why cooperation with the Turkish government has become an essential part of the European policy to manage migration.
Continue reading Mind The Gap! A Closer Look at the Inconsistencies in the EU-Turkey Statement Progress Reports
Event Announcement – Rejections and Returns: The EU-Turkey Statement and its consequences for refugees in Greece, Turkey and Germany
Monday, 20 November, 19:00 – 21:00
ECCHR, Zossener Straße 55-58 (Aufgang D), 10961 Berlin
The EU-Turkey Statement from March 2016 stipulates that “[a]ll new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into Greek islands as from 20 March 2016 will be returned to Turkey”. Under the adjusted procedures, people who arrive on the Greek islands are subjected to accelerated border procedures and an initial admissibility test on their asylum claim. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO), an EU agency, is in charge of “recommending” a decision to the competent Greek Asylum Service. Based on the dubious assumption that Turkey is a safe third country, many refugees currently face the risk of being deported back there. Cases against this further erosion of the right to asylum are pending at the European Court of Human Rights. At the same time, EASO’s practice is under scrutiny by the European Ombudsman, due to a complaint lodged by ECCHR. Continue reading Rejections and Returns: The EU-Turkey Statement and its consequences for refugees in Greece, Turkey and Germany
The Greek authorities are deporting migrants on the Greek islands to Turkey in an expedited process – raising concerns over potentially illegal and prejudiced practices, reports Matt Broomfield.
Via The New Arab – Refugees from so-called “undesirable” countries are being jailed upon arrival to the Greek islands, before being put through a summary fast-track asylum procedure and returned to detention in Turkey within a matter of weeks, it has emerged.
Individuals from North Africa and South Asia are being singled out upon arrival, due to a policy that has been described as racist and illegal.
Continue reading ‘Racist and illegal’ fast-track deportations target North African and Asian refugees in Greece
Tents without electricity, huts, overcrowding, sick and abandoned people: Chios Solidarity publicizes audiovisual material describing the inhumane living conditions in the outdoor campsite-store of people outside the hotspot of the saturated VIAL and calls for immediate action.
Via Chios Solidarity
Continue reading Refugees in Chios: This is the shame of the VIAL hotspot «expansion»
Since the EU-Turkey deal was implemented, arbitrary detention of asylum seekers on the Greek Hotspot Islands has been on the rise. On Lesvos Island the police detains – among others – people who they consider as “trouble makers” and asylum seekers who gave up their right to apply for a protection status and agreed to so-called “voluntary return” after months of forcibly staying in terrible living conditions behind barbed wire. Until recently, members of six nationalities were furthermore simply detained on basis of their national belonging. In September, this illegal detention practice has been expanded to 28 nationalities. Affected are nationalities with less than 25% acceptance rate who are sweepingly considered as “economic migrants”. Asylum seekers with the respective national belongings are detained in a pre-removal centre within Moria camp without adequate access to basic goods such as clothes or medical and legal support. Continue reading 28 “reasons” for arbitrary detention
Via Legal Centre Lesbos – In September, Mr. Maarten Verwey, EU coordinator for implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, travelled to Lesvos and met with authorities in the camps, and the Mytilene mayor’s office. He did not, however, meet with any of the individuals best placed to brief him on the impact of the EU-Turkey Statement: the refugees and asylum seekers who know all too well how refugees are treated in Turkey, and as a consequence of the ‘deal’, have been trapped on Lesvos for months and years living in inhumane and degrading conditions in perpetual fear of deportation.
Their situation is constantly deteriorating: The European Commission increases pressure to return even asylum seekers who are classified as vulnerable and individuals applying for family reunification to Turkey. Furthermore, the Greek Council of State Plenary – Greece’s highest administrative court – ruled that Turkey is a safe country, setting dangerous precedent for forcible returns to Turkey under EU-Turkey deal, trampling roughshod over overwhelming evidence that basic human rights of returnees are systematically violated by Erdogan’s repressive authoritarian regime.
However, refugees and supporters on Lesvos keep up resistance. They go on protests marches, occupied the main Square in the town of Mytilene and demand freedom of movement.