İzmir, a city where 120,000 registered refugees live, has a lot of meaning for refugees. For some, it is a stop on their way to Europe when passing over by boats, for others, it is a city they come to in order to find seasonal work on the fields.
Seasonal agricultural labor in Turkey is not an issue that started with Syrian refugees. For years, Kurdish workers, mostly coming from the east and southeast of Turkey, have been working in agricultural areas in the Aegean, Çukurova, at the Black Sea and in Central Anatolia. There have been dozens of academic studies, news and documentaries on this issue, and it is still being studied today. In every respect, seasonal agricultural labor is a great burden to workers and must be considered as injustice. Continue reading Seasonal Agricultural Labor in Turkey: The Case of Torbalı→
The Greek island of Lesvos is going through a period of strong protests. Across all political camps, the people on the island refuse to carry out the European policy measures which are transforming Lesvos into an open-air prison for refugees on the edge of Europe. Groups that are strongly divided by ideological convictions, including local left wing, moderate and right wing groups, refugees and international activists share one concern: They oppose the situation created by the EU-Turkey statement.
While right wing groups are driven by racist sentiments, the majority of protesters does not longer accept the dehumanizing living conditions in the European “Hotspot Camp” Moria. More than 6.000 people are forced to live in overcrowded containers or in small summer tents and are exposed to wind and weather without adequate protection. Some have been forced to live under these conditions for more than 18 months and six people have died in Moria during the last winter.
To make this situation visible and fight for freedom of movement, there have been several protests marches and refugees have occupied space on the central Sappho Square in Lesvos’ capital Mytilene for the whole of November. When the police evicted the square, they occupied the local office of the ruling party SYRIZA with the support of local antifascists.
Via Middle East Eye – Vandals have damaged a memorial on the Greek island of Lesbos to refugees who lost their lives trying to reach safety in Europe, rights groups said on Thursday.
Black paint was poured on the memorial, which was erected in 2013 on the east coast of Lesbos after 20 refugees drowned trying to reach the island in the winter of 2012. In 2015, hundreds more would die in the Aegean Sea as over a million people – mainly fleeing the Syrian civil war – crossed to Greece from Turkey.
“One can only wonder what the perpetrators were thinking of, insulting the memory of people who were so unjustly lost”
Via Los Angeles Times – The last time Anurkhol Bipolotov saw her husband, Fakhriddin, was across a street, outside a police station in Istanbul, on March 9. “He couldn’t speak, and I asked to speak with him, but they shouted, ‘You cannot speak.’ Then they sent him to Uzbekistan,” she recalled. “Now I have no idea where he is.”
That night, Turkish counter-terrorism police conducted 10 simultaneous raids across Istanbul, based on an anonymous tip placed to a hotline set up to report suspicious activity. Sixty-nine people, all but two foreigners, were taken into custody, suspected of being Islamic State members. Among them were 17 women and 29 children, including Bipolotov and her three children. None were ever charged with a terrorism-related crime.
Turkish police conduced more than 1,400 raids across the country in a single week this November, with officials saying 6,890 people were detained for undocumented immigration, and 1,167 for suspicion of belonging to terror groups, either the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Islamic State, or the Fetullah Terror Organization, which Ankara blames for an attempted coup in July 2016.
Via Ekathimerini – Fresh tension broke out in the capital of Lesvos on Wednesday after a small group of Afghan asylum seekers attempted to set up camp on one of the island’s public squares in demand that they be transferred to the Greek mainland.
Via Hürriyet – In a rural district of Konya -Karapınar – one Syrian died and one was severely injured in an armed fight between Syrians and locals. Around 00:30 at night, three Turkish nationals, attacked two Syrian men sitting on the street, who according to the attackers had previously harrassed the sister of one of them. One of the attackers went home, took his hunting rifle and opened the fire on the two Syrians. With injuries in various parts of their bodies, they were taking to a hospital but for one of them all help came to late. He passed away.
The German-Turkish newspaper taz gazete on the public discourse on Syrian refugees in Turkey:
“The initial welcoming culture has long since been replaced by resentments and hate speech. The option of naturalization fuels the discussion on Syrian refugees.
In last week of July, the Turkish parliament received a draft law on the naturalization of migrants, of which especially Syrian refugees would profit. At the same time, hate towards refugees is growing in the Turkish society. In daily life, they are being racially haressed and instrumentalized by politicians according to their political agenda. In re-occuring situations of conflict with the EU, Erdoğan, who normally stages himself as the saviour of the ‘muslim brothers and sisters’, threatens to put all refugees in busses towards Europe.”
Via Middle Eastern Eye – The Turkish army has arrested a group of soldiers who were filmed beating and verbally abusing a group of young Syrian refugees who attempted to illegally cross the border, it said late on Sunday. In a statement posted on its website, the army said that “the personnel in question were taken into custody and all administrative and judicial procedures have been immediately started against them”. Continue reading Turkey arrests troops who beat Syrian refugees on video→