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.
On 15th January, Turkish Coastguard has rescued 46 migrants in the Aegean Sea while recovering one body, off the southwestern Kuşadası district close to Greek island of Samos. Father of the 4-years-old girl who died at the shipwreck claimed that the Greek Coastguard pushed back their boat: “It was so inhumane. They tried to kill us”
Via InfoMigrants – The Turkish coastguard has reportedly rescued 46 migrants from a sinking rubber boat in the Aegean Sea. The body of a young girl was recovered.
Via The Guardian – Violence so bad that women wear nappies at night to avoid leaving tents, report says.
The EU has been strongly criticised over conditions in Greece’s largest refugee camp, where Oxfam reported women are wearing nappies at night for fear of leaving their tents to go to the toilet.
The British-based NGO described the increasingly dangerous state of the EU-sponsored Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, where a 24-year-old man from Cameroon was found dead in the early hours of Tuesday as temperatures fell below freezing.
Daily Sabah reports on a newly established African football club in Avcılar district of Istanbul. Although the report fails to give valid sources on the intensity or the increase of the number of African migrants who live in Istanbul, here we post it in order to make the African football players in Istanbul visible.
Konviction Rüya Spor, made up
of amateur African players living in Istanbul, aims to be first
professional football club of its kind after getting their license from
Turkish officials. If approved, it will revive hopes for players who had
originally come to Turkey to play in professional leagues.
In a small stadium in Avcılar, a district on Istanbul’s European side
known for a sizable community of African migrants, 32 players from
Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast and other countries come
together a few days every week for a strict training session. Some are
university students and others work at odd jobs but all share a passion
Following the outrage on the Syrians celebrating the new year in Istanbul, Turish interior minister gave an extensive interview to the journalist Kübra Par. While trying to ease the xenophobic sentiments by denying the myths on Syrians, such as “they are accepted to universities without examination”, “they don’t wait lines in the hospitals” or “they are given free public housing”; minister Soylu promotes a cultural and moral perspective on Syrians that highlights a historicized imagination of brotherhood of religion and in arms. Minister Soylu also claims some significant data on Syrians: such as 294k as the number of returnees to Syria, 65k as the number of work permit holders, 76,443 as the number of citizenships granted, and 645k as the children who were integrated to public education system. The full interview can be read in Turkish via HaberTurk. Below if s brief report by the News Tribe, based on the same interview.
Molly O’Toole covers the complexity of the life between displacement and return for Syrian refugees in Turkey. Putting together the stories of several Syrian interviewees, the article manifests the challanges regarding the flight to Turkey, the living conditions with severe barriers to registration, education, work and health, as well as the expectancies on resettlement despite the rising return discourse on refugees:
“The refugees face a no-win situation: If they return to Assad’s Syria, they risk conscription, disappearance and sectarian retribution, as well as an utter lack of basic services and opportunity. If they stay in Turkey, they face chronic uncertainty and destitution, as domestic and international politics turn against them.”
Via Newsweek – It was June 2011, and Barzan Ramo scrambled inside from the balcony. The 22-year-old college student was studying for his final exams in Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria when rebel groups and regime forces backing President Bashar al-Assad clashed beneath him.
A video of hundreds of Syrian men celebrating the new year in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, waving Syrian rebel flags and chanting slogans against Syrian President Bashar Assad sparked heated debate on social media in Turkey
A video showing Syrian refugees’ new year celebrations in Istanbul went viral in the early hours of 2019, with many lashing out at the Syrians and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Syrian refugees policy on social media.
Over 5,000 tweets were posted within hours with the hashtag #ÜlkemdeSuriyeliİstemiyorum [I don’t want Syrians in my country].
ISTANBUL — For 17 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won elections by offering voters a vision of restoring the glories of Turkey’s Ottoman past. He extended his country’s influence with increased trade and military deployments, and he raised living standards with years of unbroken economic growth.
But after a failed 2016 coup, Mr. Erdogan embarked on a sweeping crackdown. Last year, the economy wobbled and the lira plunged soon after he won re-election with even greater powers. As cronyism and authoritarianism seep deeper into his administration, Turks are voting differently — this time with their feet.
They are leaving the country in droves and taking talent and capital with them in a way that indicates a broad and alarming loss of confidence in Mr. Erdogan’s vision, according to government statistics and analysts.
Burcu Karakaş reports on the everyday challanges for Syrian refugee women in Turkey: “Violence, exploitation, marginalisation: these are the challenges of a difficult everyday life for many Syrian refugee women in Turkey”
Rima, whose name has been changed for security reasons, is a young Syrian woman. Until five years ago, she was living in Syria with her family. One day, a bomb dropped on their house, killing her husband and three brothers. After this unexpected tragedy, Rima, mother of three, left her hometown for Turkey. In November 2013, she started a new life with her kids in a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Sanliurfa, one of the oldest Syrian refugee camps in Turkey. Continue reading The fragility of Syrian refugee women in Turkey→
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.
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.
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.”