Romania: coastguard rescues 66 migrants on ship in Black Sea

Via Star Tribune – Romania’s coastguard on Tuesday rescued 66 migrants, including dozens of children, aboard a Turkish ship on the Black Sea after the vessel issued a distress signal.

A statement said the ship reported engine trouble early Tuesday as it was being battered by high winds in rough waters some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Black Sea coast, and asked Romanian authorities and a commercial ship in the area for help. Continue reading Romania: coastguard rescues 66 migrants on ship in Black Sea

Police rescue 57 chained Pakistani migrants bound for Europe in Istanbul

Turkey’s state run news agency Anadolu Agency reports that the anti-migrant smuggling police freed 57 Pakistani migrants in Istanbul. They were being held chained in their hands and feet in a basement of a building in Istanbul’s Arnavutköy district, apparently bound for Europe. The police arrest three suspected smugglers, also nationals from Pakistan. According to Arab News, some of the migrants had been tortured.

According to the police, the migrants had paid a total of 10.000 € to the smugglers to be brought to Greece and Italy, but that didnt happen:

“They were then chained and forced to tell their families that they had arrived Europe in order to receive codes for an alternative “Hawala” two-factor verification payment system, Doğan News Agency reported.”

Now, after being ‘rescued‘ by the police, the 57 migrants – who escaped Pakistan, and were in Turkey to continue they were towards Europe – will be deported to Pakistan! So instead of offering safety after what they have been through, the state decides to deport them, probably into another situation of high insecurity.

The three suspected organizers will be referred to court following questioning at the police headquarters.

The article was originally published by Hurriyet Daily News

257 undocumented migrants held across Turkey

Via Anadolu Agency* – At least 98 undocumented migrants were held by security forces across Turkey on Wednesday, according to officials.

In the southern province of Adana, 72 undocumented foreigners including 25 Afghan, 22 Pakistani, 20 Syrian, three Bangladeshi and two Nigerian nationals, were held by the police, a security source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media… Continue reading 257 undocumented migrants held across Turkey

Turkish Family who died in the Aegean, attempted crossing by themselves

The German-Turkish online newspaper ‘Deutsch-Türkisches Journal’ (DTJ) reports (in German) that the Maden family, who lost their lives in the Aegean Sea while trying to reach safety in Greece, attempted to crossing by themselves. The family did not have enough money to pay a smuggler, so with their last funds and some borrowed money, Hüseyin Maden bought a small boat and decided to steer the boat himself to the Greek island of Lesvos. Continue reading Turkish Family who died in the Aegean, attempted crossing by themselves

Central Asian migrants caught in Turkey’s anti-terror raids

Umar Farooq wrote a piece on the situation of Central Asian migrants in Istanbul lately for HarekAct. He published another article with LA Times on that same issue:

Via Los Angeles Times – The last time Anurkhol Bipolotov saw her husband, Fakhriddin, was across a street, outside a police station in Istanbul, on March 9. “He couldn’t speak, and I asked to speak with him, but they shouted, ‘You cannot speak.’ Then they sent him to Uzbekistan,” she recalled. “Now I have no idea where he is.”

That night, Turkish counter-terrorism police conducted 10 simultaneous raids across Istanbul, based on an anonymous tip placed to a hotline set up to report suspicious activity. Sixty-nine people, all but two foreigners, were taken into custody, suspected of being Islamic State members. Among them were 17 women and 29 children, including Bipolotov and her three children. None were ever charged with a terrorism-related crime.

Continue reading Central Asian migrants caught in Turkey’s anti-terror raids

Dubious Deportations to Turkey Prevented!

On Thursday, 23rd November 2017, the deportation of two migrants was stopped last minute. The two men from Iran and Afghanistan were held in detention on Lesvos Island. Shortly before they were transported to the harbour of Mytilene to be quietly deported to Turkey via ferry, lawyers and activists managed to intervene and stop the deportation of the two men. Eight other people from Haiti, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Pakistan were however deported and will be detained in Turkey, among them a family with a small child.

For the two cases that were stopped, there were serious doubts about the lawfulness of the deportation practice. Alireza Kamran[1] from Iran is suffering from severe health problems while Tarik Chian from Afghanistan was prevented from exhausting his legal remedies in Greece. The names and cases of the other deportees were not known to the lawyers and activists monitoring the deportation. Therefore the legality of their deportation cannot be assessed but it is doubted that the persons concerned have received sufficient support to challenge second instance rejections.

Continue reading Dubious Deportations to Turkey Prevented!

Human rights violations by design : EU-Turkey statement prioritises returns from Greece over access to asylum

In the frame of a research project coordinated by the University of Utrecht a new policy paper was published on the impact of the EU-Turkey Deal:

“The EU-Turkey-Statement proposes to reduce arrival rates and deaths in the sea by subjecting individuals who arrive on Greek islands after 20 March 2016 to fast-track asylum procedures and, in the case of negative decisions, to returns to Turkey. In exchange, EU member states have agreed to take one Syrian refugee from Turkey for every Syrian readmitted from Greece to Turkey. The Statement builds on the deterrent effect of returns and turns high return rates into an indicator for a successful border policy. This policy brief examines the impact of the Statement’s focus on returns for people seeking asylum in Greece. The analysis draws on interviews with asylum seekers and practitioners, phone interviews with people who were returned from the Greek islands following the EU-Turkey Statement, as well as on participant observations at refugee camps and inter-agency meetings on Lesbos and Chios in July and August 2017.”

10-year-old Afghan boy dies during migrant boat evacuation by Frontex vessel

Via Keep Talking Greece – A 10-year-old Afghan boy with disabilities was found dead in a boat carrying 66 migrants from Turkey to the island of Lesvos. The migrant boat was stopped by a Bulgarian Frontex vessel within the Greek territorial waters off Lesvos on Saturday morning. According to the parents, the boy was trampled by other passengers during the evacuation by the Frontex vessel. Continue reading 10-year-old Afghan boy dies during migrant boat evacuation by Frontex vessel

New migration routes: More than 3 thousand people went to Italy by crossing from Turkey

Via BBC Türkçe (Link in Turkish) – According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of immigrants from Libya to Italy by sea has decreased since last July after an agreement with Libya to stop migration towards Italy.

However, the closure of this route pushed immigrants to search for new routes. “As the number of people leaving Libya decreased, the rate of arrivals by sea from Tunisia, Turkey and Algeria to Italy increased”, according to the report.

Central Asian migrants in Turkey at risk of being labelled as terrorists

People in the neighborhood of Zeytinburnu, in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2017. Photo: Oscar Durand

By Umar Farooq

Turkish police conduced more than 1,400 raids across the country in a single week this November, with officials saying 6,890 people were detained for undocumented immigration, and 1,167 for suspicion of belonging to terror groups, either the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Islamic State, or the Fetullah Terror Organization, which Ankara blames for an attempted coup in July 2016.

While more than 50,000 people have been charged with some crime related to that coup attempt since last year, little attention is given to what happens to thousands of those detained over suspected ties to the Islamic State, especially those who risk deportation back home to countries with a dismal human rights record. Continue reading Central Asian migrants in Turkey at risk of being labelled as terrorists