Category Archives: Newsletter

HarekAct Newsletter VII – October 2018-February 2019

HIGHLIGHTS ON HAREKACT

In November 2018, HarekAct was invited to participate on Istanbul’s Açık Radyo (Open Radio) program called Hamişden Sesler (Voices from Hamisch), where our editorial board member Pelin had the chance to explain the motives and intentions of HarekAct (in Turkish). In December 2018, HarekAct closely followed the ongoing court case into the murder of Nigerian national Festus Okey, which was reopened after 11 years. Pelin Çakır wrote an extensive article for HarekAct about the murder, the legal pitfalls in the case and how the case was reopened following a long struggle by Festus‘ comrades and supporters who did not cease to demand justice for him. We also published a summary of media coverage of the case and a joint solidarity statement, released by a coalition of several groups of activists and human rights organizations.

Continue reading HarekAct Newsletter VII – October 2018-February 2019

HarekAct Newsletter VI – July, August and September 2018

TURKEY’S MIGRATION MANAGEMENT REGIME

Following our attendance at the Kritnet Conference in last May, we finally had the chance to share our contributions in HarekAct. One of our editors focused on the post EU-Turkey deal context in Istanbul, Turkey, which is marked by policies and practices of marginalization, irregularization and criminalization of migrants. The unfavorable conditions in the provision of registration, services and protection, with the implementation of additional mechanisms of securitization, detention and forced deportation, has had the impact of extending the constraints of the global border regime further to directly affect the living experiences of migrants in Istanbul.

In July, Human Rights Watch also published a report on the consequences of Turkey’s suspension of registering Syrians in Istanbul and other nine cities along the Syrian border. The report claims that this practice represents Turkey’s latest efforts in denying new asylum-seekers protection, following the closure of the borders and the shooting at individuals attempting to cross. Ultimately it is forcing Syrians to live under the risk of deportation, without access to urgent services, and having to depend on smugglers inside Turkey.

Reports reveal Turkey’s further plans to engineer the movement of more Syrian populations to the outskirts of Turkey. One of the sources mentions a decision to transfer 34,180 Syrian refugees from five camps to facilities closer to the border with Syria, and another quotes Erdoğan’s pledge to create more safe zones in Syria in order to allow refugees to return. Continue reading HarekAct Newsletter VI – July, August and September 2018

HarekAct Newsletter V – April, May, and June 2018

Developments on the Greek Islands

In mid-April, after a court decision, the news that the restriction of movement to the mainland for all migrants arriving on the Greek islands from then on had been lifted made the headlines. Hopes were high of these developments among refugees and their supporters. However, the Greek government quickly issued an administrative decision only a couple of days later, reinstating the former policy, known as the “containment policy” that is responsible for the terrible conditions many migrants face.

Meanwhile, in the four-day trial against the #Moria35 in April, 32 of the 35 defendants were collectively convicted of injuring police officers. The process was politically motivated from the very beginning with almost no proof against the defendants. They were collectively convicted to a 26 months suspended prison sentence, though this penalty is temporarily suspended, since their lawyers lodged an appeal against the decision. V. H., who contributes to HarekAct, drawing on her insights on the situation of refugees on Lesvos and focusing on their detention and deportations, wrote a report about the trial, that we published on HarekAct (in German). Continue reading HarekAct Newsletter V – April, May, and June 2018

HAREKACT NEWSLETTER – IV

** German version below / Deutsche Version weiter unten **

This newsletter has been published as part of the bordermonitoring.eu newsletter, which is – for now – available in German only.

2nd YEAR OF THE EU-TURKEY DEAL

Two years after the signing of the EU-Turkey Deal, only one part of the monetary obligation has been fulfilled by the European side so far: The payment of 3 billion Euro to several agencies in Turkey. The main part of the agreement has not been fulfilled by the EU though, a fact that is being hardly discussed in Turkish media: visa-free travel to Europe for Turkish citizens and renewed EU accession talks.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities keep proving that they are fulfilling their part of the legally questionable deal by arresting undocumented migrants in different border regions. In early March, Turkish authorities declared that they apprehended a total of 5.371 migrants just within one week. According another source, Turkish security forces stopped 50.000 people in 2017 at the land border with Bulgaria and Greece. Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) criticizes violent push-backs to Turkey conducted by Bulgarian authorities and Human Rights Watch scandalizes on-going illegal push-backs carried out by Turkish border guards on the border zone with Syria.

Regarding the situation on the Greek side, Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), an initiative supported by Pro Asyl, claims that the very poor reception conditions on the Greek islands are part of the deterrence policy against potential migrants coming from Turkey. Overcrowding, lack of infrastructure and gender-based violence against vulnerable individuals are some of the main problems in the hot spots. However, despite horrible conditions of reception and ongoing deportations from the Greek islands to Turkey, migrants continue to make the journey to the Greek islands daily crossing the sea in unseaworthy boats. Too often these journeys end deadly, as on March 17th when 16 people including at least 5 children drowned after their boat capsized. In this context, family members of the dead and missing are accusing the Greek authorities: Despite several calls for help by a relative, the authorities did not start a search and rescue operation for too long, thereby approvingly accepting their death.

By now, it is also Turkish citizens – mainly dismissed civil servants – who take the boats to Greece. According to Greek authorities, 1.800 Turkish nationals applied for asylum in Greece in 2017.

REFUGEE CHILDREN

In the Greek hot spots, where thousands of migrants are trapped in overcrowded camps and terrible conditions, most of the children have no access to formal education. The situation of refugee children is similarly problematical in Turkey. Apart from limited access to education, the legal status of the Syrian babies born in Turkey is uncertain. According to a report published by the Turkish Parliament’s Refugee Subcommittee, there are 311.000 babies of Syrian origin, born in Turkey but deprived of both Turkish and Syrian citizenship. Nevertheless, state news agency Anadolu announced that the International Pediatric Association (IPA) would give its International Peace Award to president Erdoğan for his contributions to the lives of refugee children.

THE AFRIN OPERATION AND REFUGEE CAMPS IN SYRIA

Apparently, the Turkish governments plans to deport a part of the Syrian refugees living in Turkey back to Syria. Already shortly after the start of Turkish military operation in Afrin, president Erdoğan said – while speaking to provincial leaders at his presidential palace – that “We are not in a position to continue hosting 3.5 million refugees forever. We’ll solve the situation in Afrin […] and we would like our refugee brothers and sisters to return to their own country”. Some journalists argue that this discourse is related to the increasing discontent among Turks towards Syrian refugees living in Turkey. Since the beginning of the Afrin offensive, resentments against Syrians in Turkey have been growing further. Considering this, it is not surprising that in early March Turkish authorities announced their will to set up camps for 170.000 displaced people in nine different regions within Syria, a country that is still in the middle of a war.

 

German Version

 

ZWEI JAHRE EU-TÜRKEI-DEAL

Zwei Jahre nach Unterzeichnung des EU-Türkei-Abkommens wurde von europäischer Seite bisher nur ein Teil der finanziellen Verpflichtungen erfüllt: die  Zahlung von drei Milliar  Euro an verschiedene Träger in der Türkei. Ein Großteil der Abmachungen wurde seitens der EU jedoch nicht eingehalten – worüber in den  türkischen Medien seltsamerweise kaum berichtet wird: die visafreie Einreise für türkische Staatsangehörige in die EU sowie die Fortführung und Vertiefung der Beitrittsgespräche.

Unterdessen beweisen die türkischen Behörden jedoch weiterhin, dass sie ihren Teil des flüchtlingsrechtlich fragwürdigen Abkommens erfüllen, indem sie Geflüchtete in verschiedenen Grenzregionen festnehmen. Anfang März gaben türkische Behörden an, innerhalb von nur einer Woche 5.371 Migrant_innen aufgegriffen zu haben. Laut einer anderen Quelle stoppten türkische Sicherheitskräfte im Jahr 2017 an der Landgrenze zu Bulgarien und Griechenland insgesamt 50.000 Menschen. Ärzte ohne Grenzen kritisiert gewaltsame Push-Backs in die Türkei, die von bulgarischen Grenzbeamt_innen durchgeführt werden, während die Menschenrechtsorganisation Human Rights Watch von anhaltenden illegalen Push-Backs durch türkische Grenzbeamt_innen an der Grenze zu Syrien berichtet.

Hinsichtlich der Situation auf griechischer Seite betont die von Pro Asyl unterstütze Initiative Refugee Support Aegean, dass die sehr schlechten Aufnahmebedingungen auf den griechischen Inseln Teil der europäischen Abschreckungspolitik gegenüber potentiellen irregulären Migrant_innen aus der Türkei sind. Überfüllung, unzulängliche Infrastruktur und geschlechtsspezifische Gewalt sind nur einige der Probleme in den Hotspots. Trotz der schrecklichen Aufnahmebedingungen und der anhaltenden Abschiebungen von den griechischen Inseln zurück in die Türkei versuchen weiterhin täglich Migrant_innen, in kaum seetauglichen Booten auf die griechischen Inseln zu gelangen. Nach wie vor enden viele dieser Reisen tödlich, so wie am 17. März, als 16 Menschen, darunter mindestens 5 Kinder, ertranken, nachdem ihr Boot gekentert war. Gegen die griechischen Behörden werden in diesem Zusammenhang seitens der Angehörigen massive Vorwürfe erhoben: Sie sollen den Betroffenen trotz vieler Hilferufe durch einen Verwandten nicht zur Hilfe geeilt sein und damit ihren Tod billigend in Kauf genommen haben.

Inzwischen beantragen auch immer mehr türkische Staatsbürger_innen – vor allem entlassene Beamt_innen –, Asyl in Griechenland. Nach Angaben griechischer Behörden stellten 2017 insgesamt 1.800 türkische Staatsangehörige einen Asylantrag.

 

DIE SITUATION GEFLÜCHTETER KINDER

In den griechischen Hotspots, wo Tausende Menschen in überfüllten Camps und unter schrecklichen Bedingungen ausharren müssen, haben die meisten Kinder keinen Zugang zu Bildung. Ähnlich problematisch ist die Situation geflüchteter Kinder in der Türkei. Abgesehen von dem begrenzten Zugang zu Bildung ist der rechtliche Status von in der Türkei geborenen syrischen Kindern oftmals ungeklärt. Laut einem Bericht des Flüchtlingsausschusses des türkischen Parlaments leben in der Türkei 311.000 Kinder syrischer Eltern, die in der Türkei geboren wurden, aber weder die türkische noch die syrische Staatsbürgerschaft erhalten. Dessen ungeachtet gab die staatliche Nachrichtenagentur Anadolu bekannt, dass die International Pediatric Association Präsident Erdoğan den Internationalen Friedenspreis für sein Engagement für Flüchtlingskinder verleihen werde.

 

DIE AFRIN-OPERATION UND DIE FLÜCHTLINGSLAGER IN SYRIEN

Offenbar plant die türkische Regierung, einen Teil der syrischen Geflüchteten im Land nach Syrien abzuschieben. Bereits kurz nach Beginn der türkischen Militäroperation in Afrin erklärte Präsident Erdoğan im Zuge von Gesprächen mit Lokalpolitiker_innen: „Wir sind nicht in der Lage, 3,5 Millionen Flüchtlinge für immer zu beherbergen. Wir werden die Situation in Afrin regeln […] und wir möchten, dass unsere geflüchteten Brüder und Schwestern in ihr eigenes Land zurückkehren.“ Einige Journalist_innen sind der Ansicht, dass derartige Aussagen in Zusammenhang mit der zunehmenden Unzufriedenheit in Teilen der türkischen Bevölkerung hinsichtlich der im Land lebenden syrischen Geflüchteten zu sehen sind. Seit Beginn der Afrin-Offensive sind die  Ressentiments gegenüber Syrer_innen sogar noch weiter angewachsen. Und so verwundert es auch nicht, dass türkische Behörden Anfang März verkündet haben, Flüchtlingslager für insgesamt 170.000 Vertriebene in neun verschiedenen Regionen Syriens errichten zu wollen – in einem Land, das sich nach wie vor im Krieg befindet

Das ist ein wenig verwirrend. Die 3 Milliarden wurden ja schon vor zwei Jahren zugesichert. Und jetzt nochmal? Das macht ja wenig Sinn. Wurde das Geld schon ausgezahlt oder haben sie jetzt nur nochmals zugesichert, dass sie es auch wirklich bezahlen werden? Und die 3 Milliarden sind ja auch nur die erste Tranche von insgesamt 6 Milliarden, richtig? Das wird in dem Absatz alles nicht so richtig klar…Und für was wurde das Geld überwiesen?

 

HAREKACT NEWSLETTER – III

** German version below / Deutsche Version weiter unten **

This newsletter has been published as part of the bordermonitoring.eu newsletter, which is – for now – available in German only.

EU-TURKEY DEAL

While approaching the second anniversary of the EU-Turkey Deal that was signed in March 2016, it continues to be disputed: Laura Batalla, the Secretary-General of the European Parliament Turkey Forum for example speaks of open questions “regarding its compliance with international law and the effective protection of refugees”. However, other EU institutions seem to be satisfied of its implementation: The EU ambassador in Turkey, Christian Berger declared that in the framework of the deal, 1.500 people have been returned from the Greek islands to Turkey and more than 11.700 people have been resettled to EU countries from Turkey by the end of 2017.

Continue reading HAREKACT NEWSLETTER – III

Second HarekAct Newsletter out!

** German version below / Deutsche Version weiter unten **

This newsletter has been published as part of the bordermonitoring.eu newsletter, which is – for now – available in German only.

EU-Turkey Deal 

The EU Commission has presented its 7th report on the EU-Turkey deal in September – and celebrates that, according to their estimation, still relatively few refugees arrive in Greece, while almost 10,000 Syrians have been resettled in the EU. In the light of the more than three million Syrians having found their way into Turkey, 10,000 people is a ludicrously little contribution of a political community of 500 million EU citizens. We have already reported on the negative consequences of the dirty deal in our first newsletter.

Continue reading Second HarekAct Newsletter out!

Abstract from the borderline-europe newsletter on HarekAct

borderline-europe published a part about HarekAct and the developments of the last two month regarding the Turkish migration regime and the EU-Turkey Deal in their last newsletter. We translated it into English. Read the German version below.

Last July, we already presented the collective blog project HarekAct, which bordermonitoring.eu, GAR, kritnet, Mülteci-Der and borderline-europe maintain in collaboration. The blog has been online now for almost one year and is presenting critical and up-to-date information and analyses about the European-Turkish border regime, focussing on the migration collaboration between the EU and Turkey as well as on the realities of life of refugees and migrants in Turkey. Continue reading Abstract from the borderline-europe newsletter on HarekAct