Linda, a 19-year-old Syrian and registered refugee, had just crossed from Turkey into Greece at the Evros River when men carrying guns appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. She wasn’t sure if they were police officers or soldiers, but they emerged from behind trees and wore dark uniforms that helped them blend into the night.
It was mid-May, and several hours earlier Linda had boarded a mini-bus in Istanbul with around 35 other people, including children and a pregnant woman, eager to enter European Union territory. The trip had been organised by smugglers, and the passengers ended up in a remote area close to the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne. At around three in the morning they boarded small boats that ferried them across the river. Continue reading An open secret: Refugee pushbacks across the Turkey-Greece border→
Via Ahval News(19th July) – A boat that capsized on the Maritsa river on the Greek-Turkish border was likely carrying Turkish civil servants fleeing the crackdown after the July 2016 coup attempt, four of whom are still missing, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Thursday.
Greek authorities have rescued three men, a woman and a child from the boat, according to the newspaper.
Via Ahval News(20th July)– The bodies of a Turkish mother and one of her three missing children have been found on the shore of the Maritsa river on the Greek-Turkish border, Turkish news sources reported on Friday.
Hatice Akçabay and the body of her one-year-old son were discovered in Edirne province on the Turkish side of the Maritsa, known is Greece as the River Evros. Akçabay’s two older sons, four and six years of age, are still missing.
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).
ViaRefugee Support Aegean – On 16 March 2018, a refugee boat sank near the Greek island of Agathonisi. Sixteen persons perished and at least three are missing. The survivors and relatives’ testimonies along with text messages sent to the Greek coastguard point towards a significant delay from the side of the Greek authorities in launching a search and rescue operation.
>From the early days of the tragedy, Refugee Support Aegean provides legal and psychological support to the shipwreck survivors and relatives of those who lost their lives. In this detailed case file, you can see how this tragedy unfolded.
The EU-Turkey Statement and the Greek Hotspots – A Failed European Pilot Project in Refugee Policy
The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament recently published a study focusing on the detrimental impact that the EU-Turkey Statement and the implementation of the “hotspot approach” in Greece is having on the rights of refugees and migrants arriving. The study finds that the current procedures and practices for processing asylum applications on the Greek islands under the EU-Turkey statement violate the applicants’ right to asylum and due process.