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].
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.”
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→
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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→
The young Syrian was walking home from work when he was attacked by two Turkish nationals, who stole his money and phone reports Alsouria Net.
On Saturday, a thief in the Turkish city of Gaziantep stabbed a Syrian child and stole his mobile phone and 400 Turkish lira—his weekly wages—which caused severe bleeding and resulted in him being rushed to the hospital.
Mohamed Mima,16, was returning from work when three thieves stabbed him in his side and his legs, before fleeing.
Via taz gazete – An article reporting about the situation of Syrians in Izmir and growing racist tensions and attacks. Available in Turkish and German.
„Ceplerinde dolarlar var ama bedava çorba içiyorlar“
Büyük İskender, gördüğü bir rüyanın ardından insanların eskisinden dört kat mutlu yaşayacağını düşünerek Kadifekale’ye bir kent kurmaya karar verir. Kadifekale’de şimdilerde eskisinden dört kat daha mutsuz mülteciler yaşıyor.
„Wir haben Angst“
In İzmir leben 140.000 Syrer*innen. Viele Einheimische sehen sie als Gäste, die irgendwann wieder zurückkehren sollen – manche greifen die Geflüchteten an.