Q&A: Why the EU-Turkey Migration Deal is No Blueprint

Human Rights Watch – The EU-Turkey deal commits Turkey to accept the return of all asylum seekers who travelled through Turkey in exchange for billions of Euros in aid, visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, and revived negotiations for Turkish accession to the EU. The €3 billion funding is designated for projects to improve the lives of refugees as well as of host communities in Turkey. The deal also provides for the resettlement of one other Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian returned to Turkey under the deal.

In a progress report on the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, published on September 28, the European Commission claimed that the deal is delivering results: arrivals from Turkey to Greece across the Aegean are down, millions of Euros have been disbursed to improve access to education and healthcare in Turkey, and returns and resettlement have been undertaken. Indeed, the commission and leaders of some member states cite the EU-Turkey deal as a model for agreements with other major transit countries.

Syrian refugees are deported from Greece to Turkey without due process, despite EU reassurances.

Al Jazeera – Haji, together with his wife and four young children, was illegally returned from Greece to Turkey last month. Police told them they would be transferred to Athens and they were escorted to the airport by a group of officers from the EU border agency, Frontex. They boarded a plane but instead of flying to Athens, two hours later they touched down in Adana, southern Turkey. “When I saw the Turkish flag at the airport my dreams were shattered,” Haji told me.

As Haji and his family are stranded in Turkey, a further 62,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece, living in a state of constant fear and uncertainty. This is the result of the EU-Turkey migration deal and the failure of European leaders to relocate the promised numbers of refugees from Greece.

Migrant Solidarity Network on the kumkapı migrant riot

Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı (Migrant Solidarity Network) – This Saturday, on November 19th, 123 migrants managed to escape the Kumkapı deportation center in Istanbul, after starting a fire in their cells. While the fire brigades were working to extinguish the fire, the migrants broke through the gate of the courtyard and runaway despite the policemen shooting in the air. The police forces brought 20 of them back while searching the neighborhood. Continue reading Migrant Solidarity Network on the kumkapı migrant riot

Turkey is on its way towards a dictatorship – the German government must act now!

Kritnet, a network of critical migration researchers and activists and one of the founding groups of HarekAct, published a statement on the recent developments in Turkey and Germany’s responsiblity. You can read the full text in English here on our blog. For the German version click here.

Turkey is facing a drastic slide to an authoritarian regime that increasingly disregards democratic principles: using the state of exception imposed after the attempted military coup, the government under president Erdoǧan silences the political opposition and shuts down one critical media outlet after another as well as hundreds of Non-governmental organizations. Freedom of expression, freedom of press and the pluralistic society are at extreme risk. In view of these developments, the Network for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies (kritnet) urges the German government to take concrete action to support and protect the democratic forces in Turkey and those who are already in exile. Continue reading Turkey is on its way towards a dictatorship – the German government must act now!

Lesvos turns into a deportation hub to Turkey

Welcome2Lesvos – Tensions on the Aegean islands run high after the Greek government announced to open three more so-called “hot-spots” only for “pre-removals” on the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Kos. They are, in fact, deportation prisons. Local residents and municipalities oppose these plans. The atmosphere within the camps is boiling over. It has been announced that, from November onward, weekly deportations to Turkey for 200 persons each time will take place, coordinated by Frontex. This would turn Lesvos into a deportation hub.

Child refugees in Turkey making clothes for UK shops

BBC – Syrian refugee children have been making clothes for British shoppers, an undercover BBC investigation has found. All the brands say they carefully monitor their supply chains and do not tolerate the exploitation of refugees or children. One of the refugees told Panorama they were poorly treated at the factory. He said: “If anything happens to a Syrian, they will throw him away like a piece of cloth.”

UNHCR concern over the return of 10 Syrian asylum-seekers from Greece

UNHCR – UNHCR is seriously concerned by the return of Syrian nationals from Greece to Turkey. According to the information we have received, a group of 91 people arrived on the island of Milos on 9 October. On October 14th, the group was subsequently transferred to a Reception and Identification Centre on the island of Leros, where they formally expressed to the responsible authorities their will to seek asylum in Greece. Among the group were 10 Syrian nationals who were transferred to Kos and subsequently readmitted by plane to Adana, Turkey without due consideration of their asylum claims.

Reporting on the Turkish-EU Border Regime