European Commission – The European Commission has today proposed to mobilise an additional €1.4 billion in support for refugees in Turkey, with a view of raising the total amount allocated under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey to €2 billion by the end of July.
Middle East Eye – The European Union announced on Thursday it has opened a new negotiating chapter with Turkey on its long-stalled bid for membership of the bloc, as part of its refugee and migrant deal with Ankara.
Turkey formally launched its membership bid in 2005 and since then the EU has opened 15 chapters out of the 35 required to join the bloc, although it has only completed one.
This Guardian report on the working conditions for Syrian refugees is from April 2016 but highlights why it is almost impossible for Syrians to get a legal working permit. The new law on working permissions for Syrians enacted in January, does not offer refugees route to legal labour market as it requires employers to offer contracts and pay minimum wage. But this is an unattractive proposition for many employers, since they often employ Syrians precisely because they are easily exploited. As a result, many have to work in clandestine conditions making them vulnerable to any kind of exploitation.
Watch the Med Alarm Phone – A Joint Statement and Case Study by Sea-Watch, ProActiva Open Arms, WatchTheMed Alarm Phone, Human Rights at Sea and CADUS on how the Turkish Coast Guard denied support for a co-ordinated Humanitarian Search and Rescue operation. They demand an independent investigation of a fatal distress case that occurred on 19.03.2016 in the Aegean Sea in which two people lost they lives.
Hurriyet Daily News – The Foreign Ministry on June 19 denied claims that Turkish security forces killed a group of Syrian civilians attempting to cross the border into Turkey. In a statement, ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said the allegations “do not reflect the truth.”
“Our security forces are acting within a completely legal framework while intervening in border incidents and illegal crossing attempts,” Bilgic added.
A report from the contested borders in the Aegean region
By Sabine Hess and Gerda Heck, June 2016
[updated in September 2016]
After months of massive refugee movements that have breathtakingly struggled their way towards Northern Europe last year, European Union member states have started to launch diverse actions and measurements to regain control. A coalition of Eastern European states led by Austria proclaimed the closing of the Balkan route in March this year that led to massive national re-bordering activities and the blatant construction of fences. Continue reading European restabilization attempts of the external borders and their consequences
This brief is prepared by Ayşem Biriz Karaçay for HarekAct, with the objectives of highlighting the phenomena of EU-Turkey cooperation and relevant policy suggestions, and creation of an effective discussion area on these among academia, policy makers and implementers, and civil society actors in Europe.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles published on HarekAct are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of all editorial board members.
Interview by Gerda Heck
On March 18th of 2016 the so called EU-Turkey deal entered into force. At its core, the agreement aimed at discouraging migrants from travelling by boat from Turkey to the Greek islands by allowing Greece to return migrants arriving after March 20th to Turkey.
On April 4th the first migrants were returned to Dikili from the Greek islands Lesvos and Chios. Among the 66 migrants who were deported from Chios was a group of five Congolese and one Ivorian. After arriving in Turkey, they were directly brought to the Kırklareli removal center at the Bulgarian border, which is in use since 2014. On May 19th, one of them got deported before he was able to apply for international protection. With René, one of the spokesmen of the group, Gerda Heck conducted this phone interview recently about their treatment on Chios and their involuntary deportation back to Turkey. Continue reading “We are prisoners, although we just wanted to seek asylum in Europe.”
The Watch the Med Alarm Phone published a statement on the 27th of May after being contacted by a Syrian refugee who was on one of two boats with a total of 1.000 people – mostly refugees from Syria and Iraq – in distress off the Libyan coast the day before. Through survivors they later learned that one of these boats sank leaving up to 400 people dead. The activists of the Alarm Phone claim that the closure of the Balkan route and the cruel EU-Turkey deal forces refugees to take the more dangerous route through Libya now, which in this case resulted in the death of hundreds of people. Here are some thoughts on how the EU-Turkey deal causes a shift in migration routes. Continue reading How the EU-Turkey deal forces refugees to take more dangerous flight routes
BBC – Turkish border guards have shot dead at least eight Syrians, including four children, who were trying to cross into Turkey, activists say.
A further eight people were injured, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.