Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are currently living under siege in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. Using the term “siege” is no exaggeration here – many don’t dare step out of their homes to secure their basic needs. They cannot go to work, and they can’t even leave their homes in order to try and correct their legal situation, according to the demands of the Turkish government. Even in their homes, tens of thousands of Syrians don’t feel safe. It is reported that Turkish police patrols have entered homes in Istanbul and Gaziantep, arresting anyone without a Temporary Protection ID, and even those who have Temporary Protection IDs but registered in different provinces.
The fear overwhelming Syrians in Turkey today is compounded and multi-layered. Just as resources are distributed unequally in this world, the level of fear amongst Syrians varies with their legal and economic situation. Nevertheless, all are scared, and their fear is a complex tale that could seem hard to explain.
Mare Liberum to set sail again | Refoulement at Turkish-Greek border | Case against Greece at European Court of Human Rights | Threat of deportation from Bulgaria to Turkey
Mare Liberum ready to set sail again
In a blog post, the crew of the human rights monitoring project Mare Liberum look back at one year of presence in the Aegean Sea, between Turkey to Greece. The project was launched in early 2018 with the mission to “observe, document and draw public attention to the dangerous situation at the European border”. Although Greek authorities were eager to criminalize the project from the very beginning, the Mare Liberum crew managed to set sail in late August 2018. In its post, the crew offers an overview over its activities during the past year. Criticizing the negative effects of the EU-Turkey deal, they state:
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.
Molly O’Toole covers the complexity of a life between displacement and return for Syrian refugees in Turkey for Newsweek. Collating stories of several Syrian interviewees, the article highlights the challenges regarding the flight to Turkey, living conditions with severe barriers to registration, education, work and health, as well as the expectations on resettlement despite the rising discourse of ‘return’:
“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.”
This article was originally published by Newsweek.
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
Twoarticles originally published by Ahval News originally covered this story.
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→
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 Turkish police in the state of Adana launched a security campaign in cooperation with the Foreigners’ Bureau with the aim of searching for Syrians’ Turkish identity documents, in particular the Turkish temporary protection ID, the “kimlik.”