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

Work-related Migrant/Refugee Deaths in Turkey Reaches at 108 in 2018

Health and Safety Labour Watch-Turkey published the results of its yearly report on “murders because of work” regarding migrant workers. HESA Labour Watch-Turkey is a network organization carried out by workers and their families from various industries, lines of work, and professions fighting for a healthy and safe life and working conditions.  HESA Labour Watch defines certain worker deaths as “murders because of work” rather than “work accidents” to highlight that all work accidents and occupational illnesses are preventable. Therefore, we are presenting you the results of this valuable report in an English translation that complies with the terminology used in the original.



Via
Health and Safety Labour Watch /Turkey

Migrant/refugee workers are part of Turkey’s working class… common struggle common organization…
At least 108 migrant/refugee lost their lives in 2018…
Continue reading Work-related Migrant/Refugee Deaths in Turkey Reaches at 108 in 2018

Festus Okey: a long road to justice

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


Photo: Reyan Tuvi

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

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

Reporting on the Turkish-EU Border Regime