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.
Via Hâlâ Gazeteciyiz – This Study by Funda Cantek and Cavidan Soykan traces notions as movement of Turkey-bound migration, the conditions of migrants who have settled in various cities in Turkey temporarily or permanently and their relationship with the local inhabitants, Turkey’s migration policy, and incidents in which migrants were presented as victims or perpetrators by browsing the dailies Sözcü, Hürriyet and Yeni Akit from the beginning of AKP rule in 2002 up to now.
A syrian family living in Gaziantep’ was attacked at home by unknown people. While mother and her two children got heavily injured, 15 year old Hanen Elalevi lost his life. The incidence took place at Vatan neighborhood of Gaziantep, the family members were found by the father being hit with a heavy object to their heads.
According to public prosecutor of Istanbul’s indictment, on 15 of October, a taxi carrying the 27 year-old Uzbek woman was stopped by police officers Ş.Ş and İ.K. Afterwards she was taken in the police car, detained for 3-4 hours in the car, raped by the officer Ş.Ş, her 1400 turkish liras were seized and finally dropped at Yedikule area.
Afterwards when she went to the police station in Aksaray in order to denounce the case she was returned by the officer Y.S who said “He is already regretful like a dog, I’ll give him the necessary punishment. Now you go and take a shower, take a good rest, and forget about these, won’t worry”
The next day, a friend of the rape victim went to police station and other police officers who were informed by the case brought the complaint to public prosecution. on 17th of October, police officers Ş.Ş and İ.K were arrested, other three officers who did not take legal actions on the complaint were released.
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.