Tag Archives: MonitoringEUTurkey

New refugees in Greece can move freely, says court

Via Ekathimerini – New refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece will soon be able to move around the country freely without being restricted to the islands of the eastern Aegean where they arrive from neighboring Turkey, according to a Council of State ruling that emerged on Tuesday and upends a 2016 decision by the Greek asylum service that forced them to remain in so-called hotspots until their asylum application was processed.

According to the leaked ruling by the country’s highest administrative court, there are no reasons of public interest or migration policy to justify their geographical restriction to the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kos and Rhodes. Continue reading New refugees in Greece can move freely, says court

Re-thinking EU-Turkey co-operation over migration

Via Open Democracy –  Turkey’s military offensive in Afrin is also an example of how refugees are instrumentalized to gain domestic support for foreign policy ambitions.

From integration policies to electoral politics, migration is often discussed as a domestic policy issue. Yet rarely does its possible connection with foreign policy attract attention (see a few exceptions).

One recent example is Megan Barlow’s latest openDemocracy article where she argues that the Turkish government employs refugees not only as political tools for foreign ambitions, but also for reinforcing a conservative and Islamist ideology. My argument follows the same line of thought by situating Turkey’s instrumentalization of refugees in the context of its co-operation with the EU over migration.

Continue reading Re-thinking EU-Turkey co-operation over migration

At least 14 dead in migrant boat sinking off Agathonisi

Via Ekathimerini 17.03.2018: Greece’s coast guard said on Saturday the bodies of 14 people have been recovered from the sea off a Greek island in the eastern Aegean following the sinking of a suspected migrant smuggling boat. Continue reading At least 14 dead in migrant boat sinking off Agathonisi

EU to offer Turkey more cash for Syrian refugees before Erdogan meeting

Via Reuters – The European Union’s executive is due to approve a further 3 billion euros (2.66 billion pounds) in funding for Syrian refugees living in Turkey, EU officials said, before a meeting with President Tayyip Erdogan later this month.

Europe’s relations with Erdogan have been fraught in recent years but the EU depends on Turkey to keep a tight lid on immigration from the Middle East, where the war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands and pushed millions from homes. Continue reading EU to offer Turkey more cash for Syrian refugees before Erdogan meeting

Five Aegean islands seek to cancel “geographic restrictions for refugees and migrants”

Via Keep Talking Greece – The geographical restriction imposed on refugees and migrants who arrived in Greece after the EU-Turkey Statement on the islands of the northern Aegean, violates the principle of human dignity, the alleged need to apply it is not substantiated, representatives of the Bar Associations in Chios, Lesvos, Rhodes, Kos and Samos, as well as the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) said in a joint press conference on Tuesday.

The five Bar Associations and the GCR have submitted two cancellation requests against the State and the Asylum Service’s decision to keep refugees and migrants on the islands until their asylum requests have been examined, which were heard earlier today by the Council of State. It is not known when the court will issue its ruling.

Hara Katsigianni, from GCR’s legal department, said the specific decision violates the European Directive 33/2013, according to which such geographical restrictions should be imposed on grounds of public interest, public order or for the rapid processing and effective monitoring of the application for international protection. However, she explained, “the provision of Article 41 of Law No 4375/2016, on the basis of which the decision on a geographical restriction was adopted, does not specify any reason of public interest or public order and does not mention the speedy monitoring of the application”.

Grammatiki Alimonou, representing the Bar Associations of Chios, Rhodes, Kos and Samos, stressed that “as far as the obligation to remain on the islands is concerned, there is no clear condition in the EU-Turkey Joint Statement”. On the contrary, she explained, the EU or the migration policy ministry interprets the statement in a way that requires refugees and migrants to remain on the islands until it is decided if they qualify for asylum and return them to Turkey from there.

“We are here to defend our islands, to defend the rights of refugees and migrants, who cannot live in appalling conditions, but to support the right of island residents to exist, to live, to create without deteriorating their daily lives,” the president of Chios’ Bar Association, Anthippi Zannara said. 


This article was originally published by Keep Talking Greece 

“Only 16% of asylum seekers can be sent back to Turkey”: Maria Stavropoulou, former head of the Greek asylum service

Via Ekathimerini (from 11th Feb) – Just 16 percent of asylum seekers who undertook the journey to Greece can be returned to Turkey under Greek law and European directives, Maria Stavropoulou, the former head of the Greek asylum service, has told Kathimerini.

“Given what we know about Turkey, those who can be shipped back are mostly Syrians, who enjoy a high level of protection,” said Stavropoulou, adding that the agency has ruled that 2,200 Syrians can be returned from Greece to Turkey on safe third country grounds. Continue reading “Only 16% of asylum seekers can be sent back to Turkey”: Maria Stavropoulou, former head of the Greek asylum service

Pushed back to Turkey despite legal refugee status in Germany

Via AYSThe 23 year old Syrian refugee K. went from Germany to Greece to meet his younger brother who were supposed to come from Turkey by the end of November 2016. When he looked for him in Didimoticho, Greece, showing a photo of the 11-year old brother, he was arrested. 14 months later, K. is back in Greece after being pushed back to Turkey with 50 other migrants on the 30th of November 2016.

K.’s documents were basically thrown away, just as 14 months of his life. Photo: Vasco Gargalo (Art Against)
K.’s documents were basically thrown away, just as 14 months of his life. Photo: Vasco Gargalo (Art Against)

Continue reading Pushed back to Turkey despite legal refugee status in Germany

Turkey’s quest for EU visa waiver more likely to cause strife than progress

Via Al-Monitor “Erdogan seems to realize that the political and economic price of breaking up with the EU is growing bigger. He has taken up the issue of EU membership anew, including during recent trips to France and Italy, amid growing talk of normalizing ties with the EU. On Feb. 7, Turkey submitted documents to the European Commission, saying it had fulfilled the outstanding criteria for the visa waiver. “The ball is now in the EU’s court,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.” Continue reading Turkey’s quest for EU visa waiver more likely to cause strife than progress

Investigation: Coercive ‘voluntary’ deportations leave refugees trapped in jail

The New Arab published a story on February 2nd on IOM ‘voluntary return programme’: “A scheme to repatriate refugees whose asylum bids have been rejected amounts to bullying and bribing desperate people to return to desperate situations, reports Matt Broomfield.” Valeria Hänsel also wrote on that same issue for HarekAct two weeks back.

Via The New Arab  A “voluntary” returns programme being heavily marketed to refugees is leaving them stranded in inhumane conditions in Greek and Turkish jails for months at a time, and facing imprisonment and torture once they return to their home countries – if they are ever able to get there at all.

For many refugees arriving in Greece and Turkey, whose claims for asylum are rejected, the International Organisation for Migration‘s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme is effectively the only alternative to brutal jail systems. They are forced to give up their right to appeal their asylum decision in order to escape six or 12 months of confinement by accepting “voluntary” return. Continue reading Investigation: Coercive ‘voluntary’ deportations leave refugees trapped in jail