The Turkish city of Erzurum sits on an expansive green plain, ringed on all sides by towering mountains. Best known as a destination for winter sports enthusiasts, who flock here when snow blankets the nearby slopes, it is also a gateway for another set of visitors – Afghans uprooted by their country’s long and brutal war.
Located about 240 kilometres from the Iranian border, Erzurum is one of the main transportation hubs between Turkey’s far eastern regions and the rest of the country. Before a recent crackdown, its parks, mosques, and bus station overflowed as people slept rough before continuing on to Ankara, Istanbul, or towards the border with Europe.
Once viewed as a short-term transit point, the city has increasingly become an unexpected destination for the ever-growing number of Afghans fleeing to Turkey – a destination where new arrivals find themselves trapped with narrowing options and slim job prospects. Continue reading Fleeing worsening war, Afghans find narrowing options in Turkey
Riot police crack down on an L.G.B.T. rally in Istanbul, in 2016. Under the provisions of the country’s state of emergency, protest is effectively banned.
Photograph by Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty
Via The New Yorker – When you are a refugee, you learn all about the hierarchy of compassion. There are the people from war-torn countries—refugees from humanitarian catastrophes so enormous that they upend the world’s imagination, such as those who have escaped from Syria. There are people who have fled a sudden campaign of violence and hatred, such as the gay men who have been escaping from Chechnya for the past year. And then there is you: unlucky enough to have suffered the kind of misfortune that can’t seem to hold onto a headline. From the officers of U.N.H.C.R.—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency that runs refugee-resettlement operations around the world—what you hear is this: “There is no country for you.” Continue reading The L.G.B.T. Refugees in Turkey Who Refuse to Be Forgotten
Via Deutsche Welle – Syrians granted limited asylum but denied the right to fetch relatives are departing Germany for Turkey by using smugglers, say German media. The cases, if confirmed, bizarrely reverse the “Balkan route” drama of 2015.
Via EurActiv – Greece will speed up the relocation of thousands of migrants from its overcrowded islands to the mainland before the onset of winter after reaching a deal with Turkey, a key ally in helping to tackle Europe’s migration crisis, government sources said yesterday (11 December).
Athens persuaded Ankara last week to accept migrant returns, including Syrian refugees, from the mainland and not just from the Aegean islands as previously agreed under a 2016 EU-Turkey pact, a government source told AFP. Continue reading Greece to speed up migrant transfer after Turkey deal
Via Greekreporter – Lesvos island decongestion plan is in full progress. 408 persons have left the island in the last 24 hours. 152 refugees and migrants left on Friday evening from the port of Piraeus while another 256 left with the ferry “Nissos Samos” on Saturday for the port of Heraklio, Crete. Continue reading Large Number of Migrants and Refugees Leave from Lesvos; Migration Ministry’s Decongestion Plan in Full Progress