Category Archives: News

HarekAct offers a topical and chronological collection of news on the EU-Turkish border regime under this section. We link to external newspapers and websites and do not hold the copyright.
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.

Turkey Must Not Ignore Non-Syrian Refugees

On 13th of December 2018, Refugees International published a report concerning the conditions of Afghan asylum-seekers in Turkey, titled “‘You Cannot Exist in This Place:’ Lack of Registration Denies Afghan Refugees Protection in Turkey”. The report claims crucial recommendations to DGMM, UNHCR, EU and US on the facilitation of registration, resettlement and protection for Afghan asylum-seekers. The full report is accesible here in English and Turkish.


Via Refugees Deeply

As Turkey takes sole responsibility from UNHCR for processing the asylum claims of Afghans and other non-Syrians, it must register them and allow them to access their basic rights, say Refugees International’s Izza Leghtas and Jessica Thea.

An unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan.AP/Alastair Grant
Continue reading Turkey Must Not Ignore Non-Syrian Refugees

Greece: Violent Pushbacks at Turkey Border

Human Rights Watch published a report on 18th of December (see the full report in English, Turkish or Greek) regarding the violent push-backs commited by Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region. While the officers in some cases were said to use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings, HRW urged the Greek authorities to cease summary returns to Turkey, investigate abuses, and hold those responsible to account.

“All those interviewed said they were transported to the border with Turkey in groups of 60 to 80, in military trucks or unmarked vans. In all but three cases, the agents wore face masks, black pants, or camouflage, making it impossible to recognize or identify them. In the three other cases, interviewees said police in regular blue and camouflage uniforms transported them to the river. Ten out of 26 interviewees said they were physically abused or witnessed others being ill-treated during the pushback operation.”


Continue reading Greece: Violent Pushbacks at Turkey Border

Iranians Are Converting To Evangelical Christianity In Turkey

Fariba Nawa’s report conveys the issue of religious conversion among asylum-seeking Iranians in Turkey. Despite the slippery slope, she elaborates a fair representation of glocal dynamics as they relate to people’s asylum journeys, while avoiding to make short cut statements.


Pastor Karl Vickery prays for the Iranian refugee converts in a makeshift church for the United Pentecostal congregation in Denizli, Turkey.

by Fariba Nawa

In a hotel conference room in Denizli, Turkey, about 60 Iranians sing along to songs praising Jesus mixed with Iranian pop music. When the music stops, American pastor Karl Vickery preaches with the help of a Persian translator.

“I’m not famous or rich. But I know Jesus. I have Jesus,” he says, with a Southern drawl. The Farsi-speaking Christian converts shout “Hallelujah!” and clap.

Vickery, who’s part of a visiting delegation from Beaumont, Texas, then offers to pray for each person in the room.

Continue reading Iranians Are Converting To Evangelical Christianity In Turkey

Bloomberg reports on the intolerance to migrants in the Southeastern Towns of Turkey

Selcan Hacaoglu takes on the rising anti-migrant sentiments against Syrians at the border towns of Turkey for Bloomberg Businessweek . The text involves some stigmatizing language, on which a critical reflection remains missing. Still we are posting here, since it also gives a glimpse of Syrians’ incorporation into different sectors of labour market.


A camp for displaced people in Kafr Lusin near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on April 1, 2018. Photographer: Ibrahim Yasouf/AFP via Getty Images

Via Bloomberg Businessweek

By Selcan Hacaoglu

As warplanes bombed his Syrian hometown of Aleppo, factory-owner Amer Hadri stepped on the gas pedal of his silver BMW 5 series and made for the safety of Turkey. Continue reading Bloomberg reports on the intolerance to migrants in the Southeastern Towns of Turkey

Case on Festus Okey murdered at Istanbul police station reopened after 11 years

On Wednesday the case on the murder of Festus Okey in Beyoglu police station of Istanbul 11 years ago was reopened. Although the audience was not allowed to enter the courtroom several newspapers report about the trial.


Via Bianet
In Festus Okey case, which has been reopened after 11 years, the court ruled that necessary documents for visa procedures for Okey’s family shall be provided. DNA reports have also been requested to prove blood relations between the family members.

The case of Festus Okey from Nigeria, who was killed at Beyoğlu Police Department in İstanbul, has been reopened after 11 years.

In today’s (December 12) hearing, which has been held at İstanbul 21st Heavy Penal Court, it has been ruled that Tochukwu Gameliah Ogu, brother of Okey, shall be invited to the trial as an observer. Having applied to intervene in the case as well, Ogu shall await the result of the DNA test, which is required for his application for intervention to be granted. Continue reading Case on Festus Okey murdered at Istanbul police station reopened after 11 years

Report – The new normality: Continuous push-backs of third country nationals on the Evros river

Along with a press release the Greek Council for Refugees , the Association for the Social Support of Youth, and HumanRights360 published a report about the continuous push-backs of third country nationals on the Evros river.


The new normality: Continuous push-backs of third country nationals on the Evros river

The Greek Council for Refugees, ARSIS-Association for the Social Support of Youth and HumanRights360 publish this report containing 39 testimonies of people who attempted to enter Greece from the Evros border with Turkey, in order to draw the attention of the responsible authorities and public bodies to the frequent practice of push-backs that take place in violation of national, EU law and international law. Continue reading Report – The new normality: Continuous push-backs of third country nationals on the Evros river

Increasing number of migrants making way to Greek Cyprus through north

Via Ahval News – Cyprus is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for migrants and refugees seeking shelter and a new life in Europe as they arrive in the north of the island and make their way down to the Greek Cyprus, the Cyprus Mail said.

 A buffer zone divides the northern Turkish Cyprus from the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a European Union member.The Mediterranean island has been split since Turkish invasion of the northern third in 1974.

Continue reading Increasing number of migrants making way to Greek Cyprus through north

Fence at Turkish-Bulgarian border brought down by heavy rains again

Via Independent Balkan News Agency – Part of the fence built by Bulgaria at the border with Turkey to stem illegal migration has fallen for a second time, brought down by heavy rain in the Malko Turnovo area, reports on December 6 said.

The controversial and highly costly fence project was begun in 2013 by the “Oresharski” government, in response to a significant increase in refugees fleeing war-torn Syria. The initial 30km of the project has been extended with the ambition of covering all of Bulgaria’s border with Turkey by the Borissov government.

Continue reading Fence at Turkish-Bulgarian border brought down by heavy rains again

#Justice for Festus Okey

The case on the murder of Nigerian Festus Okey in Beyoglu Police Station of Istanbul is reopening after 11 years. The groups of activists and human rights organizations declare that they will keep following the case and asking for justice.
see the facebook campaign page and event page


Via Göçmen Dayanismasi

Festus Okey Case Resumes After 11 Years

What happened?

Place of Death: Beyoglu Police Station

Festus Okey was a Nigerian asylum seeker living in Istanbul with the dream of becoming a successful soccer player. On August 20, 2007, he was arrested and later on shot by a police officer while under detention at the Beyoğlu police station. Seriously injured, he died in the hospital, where the shirt he wore on that day – a crucial piece of evidence to prove the shooting distance – went lost. Continue reading #Justice for Festus Okey

Despite Greece’s denial, controversial ‘pushback’ of migrants prevails

Via Daily Sabah* – The controversial and illegal practice of “pushback,” forcibly sending illegal migrants to countries they arrived from, is in the spotlight once again after the bodies of three migrants were found near the Turkish border. Greece is accused of sending back the migrants after stripping them of their clothes in freezing temperatures. Minister for Citizen Protection, Olga Gerovasili, whose ministry oversees border security, denied the allegation and told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Greece is not involved in such incidents. Yet, figures provided to AA by Turkish security sources show many illegal migrants were forced to go back to Turkey by Greek officials; some 2,490 migrants were “pushed back” in November alone.

Continue reading Despite Greece’s denial, controversial ‘pushback’ of migrants prevails