HarekAct’s Weekly Digest 12/03/2019

Police used tear gas to disband migrants waiting at immigration office/// On people trying to reach Greek islands/// Poor reception conditions trigger returns in the context of EU-Turkey deal/// An official NGO has been set up in Turkey with the name ‘Syrians to Syria’/// New editorial features launched by Syrian independent media


source: sendika.org

Police fire tear gas on migrants waiting in front of Denizli immigration office: In the southwest city of Denizli, police reportedly used tear gas to disband a crowd who were waiting for their ID processing, scheduled for Monday morning (4 March). Dozens of migrants, mainly from Afghanistan and Iran, had camped out on Sunday night in front of the Denizli migration management office to wait, and some were sleeping on the pavement when police intervened. See more here – 05/03/2019

Aegean Boat Report gives weekly statistics on sea-crossings to the Aegean islands: Between February 25 and March 3, a total of 18 boats began their journey towards the Greek islands, carrying a total of 711 people. 14 boats (carrying 519 people) were stopped by TCG/police. A total of 192 people were able to make it to the Greek islands. So far this year, 131 boats have been stopped by the Turkish coastguard and police, the report states. See here – 05/03/2019

Two children die attempting to reach Samos island: A boat carrying migrants sank off the Greek island of Samos on March 7. Greek authorities said three people drowned, including two young boys. Nine others were rescued. See here – 07/03/2019

ECRE report, Reception Conditions in Greece Trigger Voluntary Returns to Turkey: The number of asylum seekers returning from Greece, voluntarily and involuntarily, and the levels of EU support to refugees in Turkey are casting a shadow on EU Agenda on Migration, the ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles) has argued. In its response to a parliamentary question, the German government stated that 5000 people, who had sought asylum in Greece, have left Greece via voluntary return programmes in the context of the EU-Turkey deal. According to the European Commission, 322 people have been returned to Turkey and the EU has accepted 7000 Syrian refugees in return. The question by 22 MPs referred to the warning of human rights organisations of poor reception conditions and summary returns from Turkey, the reports of catastrophic conditions on Greek Island hotspots, and the criticisms of the European Court of Auditors about the lack of transparency and inefficiency of the support for refugees provided by Turkey. See more – 08/03/2019


Ali Işıner Hamşioğlu, photo: VOA

A new NGO is organising across Turkey, calling for “Syrians to Syria“: People from different sectors of Turkish society have established a “Syrians to Syria Platform”, with lawyer Ali Işıner Hamşioğlu acting as spokesperson, claiming that they are carrying a “future worry” regarding the 4 million Syrian migrants living in Turkey. The platform is organised across 11 cities of Turkey, and is known through short videos shared on social media. The spokesperson is confident and careful in asserting that the platform cannot be identified as causing “hate discourse” or “inciting people towards grudge and enmity” while building a discourse around Syrians’ “right to return home” so that a conflict between the two communities will not arise. The interview with the spokesperson therefore presents the worryingly growing and biased perspective, which is built towards refugees yet without considering refugees themselves as the main subject. See here (in Turkish)


Introducing new editorial features by the independent voices on Syria:
At the end of February, Aljumhurriya, an independent platform ‘for Syrians to speak in their own voice’, launched a weekly coverage round up to present a brief English summary of their Arabic news coverage. The news covered includes relevant topics to the Turkish border regime such as a recent statement issued by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood calling on Turkey’s President Erdogan to impose a “safe zone” in northern Syria, and Yassin al-Haj Saleh’s commentary about it.

On March 8 Syria Direct, a non-profit journal about Syria, launched a bilingual audio-reporting series on Syrian women – “This week, to bring to light the stories of Judi, Samara and other Syrian women, Syria Direct is launching its first-ever audio reporting series, Souriyeh / سوريّة. The 10-part series, takes its title from the feminine adjective of ‘Syrian’. The goal: to chart the role that Syrian women are playing in communities inside Syria, as well as the diaspora, after more than seven years of war—and to explore the challenges that Syrian women overcome each day.”