New Report on Migrant
Workers | 5 Afghans died in fire in Ankara | 6 people died in shipwrecks in the
Aegean | Election campaigns fuel Racist Discourses | New Report on Syrians
Women’s perspectives on Life in Turkey
Ankara based ISIG (Health and Safety Labour
Watch, Turkey) have released their report on refugee workers in Ankara. The turkish-language report finds that
wages for migrant workers begin from 200 TL weekly but vary according to age
and working experience. Child labourers earn around 20 TL per day in gathering
recycling materials and up to 250 TL per week in furniture workshops. After
five Syrian workers died in a fire in January, their employer offered 30,000 TL
to their families in compensation, which they did not accept. The families, who
have to live off around 300 TL per week since losing their breadwinners, have
started legal procedures against the employer. Just last week again, 5 Afghan workers died when the
abandoned building in an industrial area they were living in outside of Ankara,
caught fire. They had been collecting paper and other garbage for around 50 TL
a day, working for around 16-17 hours for 7 days of the week. We hope to follow
up on this topic further on HarekAct.
Racism against Syrians in local elections | Malpractice in police custody against Iranians | A graveyard for Syrians in Izmir | Claims for a birthright citizenship in Turkey | Critical perspectives on the EU-Turkey deal | Calls for giving a voice to refugees/migrants
Local elections on March 31 and racism
Kristina Jovanovski reports for NBC News about increasing racist sentiments against the Syrian population in Turkey. According to her report, Turkish people are blaming Syrians for higher job competition and are complaining about increasing cultural differences. Syrian people interviewed by the author report that they are facing racism on a regular basis, increasing their feelings of insecurity in Turkey. Both members of the AKP and the CHP have publicly called for a return of all Syrians to Syria during their respective election campaigning. Omar Kadkoy of Tepav think tank (The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey) sees them as a “convenient scapegoat” and argues that it is the low number of job permits granted by the government which is responsible for employers being able to pay Syrians less in informal employment, “feeding into perceptions that Syrians are stealing jobs and lowering wages”.
EU-Turkey Deal, three years on | “The European Refoulement Industry at Sea” | Anti-Syrian election campaigning | Against Racial Discrimination | Eight years on from conflict in Syria | A special Issue of International Migration Journal: Syrian Refugees –Facing Challenges, Making Choices
EU-TURKEY DEAL: Three Years On
18 March 2019 marked three years since the controversial EU-Turkey ‘Deal’ was enacted. A number of NGOs have released statements to mark the anniversary in which they denounce the inhumane repercussions and immeasurable human cost of the deal. As a result of the deal, more than 20,000 people are being contained on Greek island ‘hotspots’, more than half of whom are women and children.
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
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
Talks on ‘safe zone’///Ongoing return discourse///Arbitrary deportations///Migrant labour/// Municipal-level responses to refugees
U.S. delegation visited Turkey presumably to discuss the Syrian “safe zone”: After Trump reversed his decision to fully withdraw from Syria with the continued presence of about 400 US troops, the meeting was expected to discuss the stalled talks concerning a safe zone across the border in Northern Syria, an issue which the two sides have divergent views on, according to some sources. Trump’s senior adviser Kushner’s three-hour meeting with Erdogan ended without an official statement. – 27.02.2019
We introduce you to our new weekly news digeston migration, asylum and border issues primarily in Turkey as well as on the general European context as far as it is connected to Turkey.
Anti-Migrant Violence and Discrimination///Exploitation///Border Region///Broader Discourse///Numbers///Further Information
Anti-migrant violence and discrimination
After mass attacks against the Syrian community in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul on the 9 February, reported here, the anti-Syrian attacks are continuing. Four masked individuals raided into the house of a Syrian family in Sultangazi, Istanbul. Among seven people living in the house, one was severely injured after being shot in the head.
Seven Syrian families living in the Artuklu neighborhood of Mardin were threatened with letters posted at their doors, three of which also had a bullet placed next to them, Evrensel reports. The letters read: “Respectful landlord, if you don’t leave the house in 10 days, a bomb attack will be organized. This is your first warning, the second one will hurt someone. We don’t want you in this neighborhood.”
A fight between two groups quickly turned into a mass assault on the Syrian community in the Esenyurt District of Istanbul on 9 February. A mass crowd chanted xenophobic slogans on the streets where many Syrians live and own small shops. Despite the extensive aggression and damage to Syrian shops, no measures were taken against Turkish citizens, while three Syrians were arrested. In their published report on the incident, IHD (Human Rights Association) pointed to the temporary protection status of Syrians as accelerating their insecure position, and called on authorities to take the necessary measures to stop future racist aggression.
Turkey’s state-run news agency “Anadolu Agency” has been providing contradicting numbers on the irregular migrants held by Turkish authority across the country. By the beginning of this year, the agency announced the number of the migrants held in the seas around Turkey to be 26,678 for 2018, indicating a rise of 21.6 percent compared to 2017. Regarding 2019, the numbers released so far sum up to more than 2,500.
Due to the reopening of the case of Festus Okey last week, Pelin Çakir summarizes and comments on the murder and its contexts for HarekAct
by Pelin Çakır
Festus Okey, was born in 1975, in the Abia state of Nigeria, one of eleven children born to a farming couple. His brother Tochukwu migrated to South Africa to support his family in their poverty, but told Festus that conditions were very bad there, leading Festus to come to Istanbul instead in 2005. He worked in temporary jobs and played football with amateur teams in the so-called African league of Istanbul, a league which gives hope to many African young men to be discovered by the agents of professional football teams and therefore become a reputed player. His friends were calling him Okute. By coincidence, he appeared in an independent documentary which reported on the league, firstly recorded while running in the field, then unexpectedly during his funeral (how his murder was initially acknowledged by the press).
It wasn’t easy to escape the police’s ‘attention’ as a black man in Istanbul. The first time he was arrested by police for being undocumented, and kept for several months in Kumkapı detention center until he managed to file an asylum application to the UNHCR. On the early evening of 20 August 2007, Festus Okey and his friend Mamina Oga were stopped by an undercover police officer in the central Beyoğlu area of Istanbul. The police officer later described how they were apprehended with the following words “black persons and citizens from the East draw more attention with respect to narcotics”. Continue reading Festus Okey: a long road to justice→