Several Push-backs from Greece around the Evros region | Second pushback from Greek waters in the Aegean Sea within a month | Ten people die trying to reach Greek islands | Worrying reports of deportations of vulnerable people from the Greece islands | Information about a hidden EASO report casting doubt on Turkey as a safe country translated | Mare Liberum prevented from leaving Lesvos | Statement by the Izmir Bar Association on the recent deaths in the Aegean
Several Push-backs from Greece around the Evros
indicate a surge of push-backs at the Greek-Turkish border. Several reports have been published which
describe violent push-backs of people from Greek soil following their crossing
of the Greek-Turkish border via the Evros river.
Harassment, sexual assault or violent threats towards LGBTI and women refugees across Turkey | Crossing to EU through Cyprus | Child abuse case sparks feelings of insecurity in multi-ethnic neighborhood | Syrian seasonal workers exploited between multinational companies and Turkish middlemen | On exile but with the spirit of “Arab spring” in Istanbul | Arbitrary procedure of detention on arrival to Lesvos
LGBTI refugees are calling on the UK Home Office to take immediate steps, as they continue to live in fear of homophobic violence in Turkey: Fifteen LGBT Syrian refugees are launching a legal challenge against the UK Home Office claiming they have been abandoned to a life of danger in Turkey, despite promises of being quickly brought to safety in the UK. Although they were accepted to a refugee resettlement scheme by the Home Office, they have been waiting for more than two years to be resettled, and are forced to live in hiding as a result. See more – 15.04.2019
Policeman’s Sentence for Sexually Assaulting an Uzbek Woman Reduced due to ‘Good Behavior’: For sexually assaulting a migrant woman from Uzbekistan in a police car in October 2018, the police officer Ş.Ş has been sentenced to 18 years, yet the sentence was reduced to 15 considering the “stance and behavior of the defendant in the hearings”. Four other officers were also under trial for the incident. The court acquitted one of them, and the other three have been sentenced to 7 months and 15 days in prison for “not reporting an offense” as public officers. See more – 26.04.2019
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:
Racism against Syrians in local elections | Malpractice in police custody against Iranians | A graveyard for Syrians in Izmir | Claims for a birthright citizenship in Turkey | Critical perspectives on the EU-Turkey deal | Calls for giving a voice to refugees/migrants
Local elections on March 31 and racism
Kristina Jovanovski reports for NBC News about increasing racist sentiments against the Syrian population in Turkey. According to her report, Turkish people are blaming Syrians for higher job competition and are complaining about increasing cultural differences. Syrian people interviewed by the author report that they are facing racism on a regular basis, increasing their feelings of insecurity in Turkey. Both members of the AKP and the CHP have publicly called for a return of all Syrians to Syria during their respective election campaigning. Omar Kadkoy of Tepav think tank (The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey) sees them as a “convenient scapegoat” and argues that it is the low number of job permits granted by the government which is responsible for employers being able to pay Syrians less in informal employment, “feeding into perceptions that Syrians are stealing jobs and lowering wages”.
EU-Turkey Deal, three years on | “The European Refoulement Industry at Sea” | Anti-Syrian election campaigning | Against Racial Discrimination | Eight years on from conflict in Syria | A special Issue of International Migration Journal: Syrian Refugees –Facing Challenges, Making Choices
EU-TURKEY DEAL: Three Years On
18 March 2019 marked three years since the controversial EU-Turkey ‘Deal’ was enacted. A number of NGOs have released statements to mark the anniversary in which they denounce the inhumane repercussions and immeasurable human cost of the deal. As a result of the deal, more than 20,000 people are being contained on Greek island ‘hotspots’, more than half of whom are women and children.
Police used tear gas to disband migrants waiting at immigration office/// On people trying to reach Greek islands/// Poor reception conditions trigger returns in the context of EU-Turkey deal/// An official NGO has been set up in Turkey with the name ‘Syrians to Syria’/// New editorial features launched by Syrian independent media
Police fire tear gas on migrants waiting in front of Denizli immigration office: In the southwest city of Denizli, police reportedly used tear gas to disband a crowd who were waiting for their ID processing, scheduled for Monday morning (4 March). Dozens of migrants, mainly from Afghanistan and Iran, had camped out on Sunday night in front of the Denizli migration management office to wait, and some were sleeping on the pavement when police intervened. See more here – 05/03/2019
We introduce you to our new weekly news digeston migration, asylum and border issues primarily in Turkey as well as on the general European context as far as it is connected to Turkey.
Anti-Migrant Violence and Discrimination///Exploitation///Border Region///Broader Discourse///Numbers///Further Information
Anti-migrant violence and discrimination
After mass attacks against the Syrian community in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul on the 9 February, reported here, the anti-Syrian attacks are continuing. Four masked individuals raided into the house of a Syrian family in Sultangazi, Istanbul. Among seven people living in the house, one was severely injured after being shot in the head.
Seven Syrian families living in the Artuklu neighborhood of Mardin were threatened with letters posted at their doors, three of which also had a bullet placed next to them, Evrensel reports. The letters read: “Respectful landlord, if you don’t leave the house in 10 days, a bomb attack will be organized. This is your first warning, the second one will hurt someone. We don’t want you in this neighborhood.”
Turkey’s state-run news agency “Anadolu Agency” has been providing contradicting numbers on the irregular migrants held by Turkish authority across the country. By the beginning of this year, the agency announced the number of the migrants held in the seas around Turkey to be 26,678 for 2018, indicating a rise of 21.6 percent compared to 2017. Regarding 2019, the numbers released so far sum up to more than 2,500.
As part of the EU-Turkey-Deal the EU offered a payment of 3 billion Euros until 2018. The way the budget is used has always been criticized, particularly because of the lack of transparency and efficiency in distributing the aids in a fair manner for those in need, both by the refugees and the actors in the field. Now in its final report even the EU’s ECA criticizes the distribution of the budget, stating that a large amount of it has been wasted due to a lack of efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore it clarifies that for a big amount of the EU-money it is unknown what it actually was spent on.
Once more it becomes clear that while in the context of the EU-Turkey-Deal the sealing of the European border to Turkey is effectively enforced, the promised support for the refugees in Turkey does often not reach them.
EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey
In a recent post, Deportation Monitoring Aegean reports about deportations as a business model. It describes the role of private companies facilitating deportations from the Greek Islands to Turkey, which are employed by the European Border and Cost Guard Agency FRONTEX. The post follows the financial flows surrounding the execution of deportations.
Via Deportation Monitoring Aegean – The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, better known as Frontex, supports the operational implementation of the deportations under the EU-Turkey statement. This means that the agency is responsible for deploying so-called “forced-return escorts” that support the Greek authorities with deportations. Furthermore, Frontex supports the Greek authorities with technical assistance in terms of organizing means of transportation, operational coordination and financial resources of return operations. In a previous post we discussed the trajectory of deportation and illustrated how commercial tourist companies play a key role in facilitating deportations. In this post, we will elaborate on the collaboration between Frontex and commercial tourist companies to illustrate how commercial interest and migration management coalesce. In order to excavate this relationship, we will first shortly discuss the role of Frontex in the deportation process. After this brief introduction, we will discuss the relation between commercial companies and European agencies, to unpack the social and political implications of this cooperation. Yet, it should be mentioned that the role of Frontex within the deportation regime is complex, and the presented text is not an all-encompassing description of their tasks.