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
Via euobserver – The EU is unable to verify with certainty how over €1bn of European taxpayer money was spent on Syrian refugees in Turkey because of Ankara’s data protection laws.
This article was originally published by euobserver.
Striking Audit Results by the EU’s ECA
Via AIMS Turkey – The EU’s European Court of Auditors (ECA) released their final report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey yesterday. A short summary of the 63-page report, which contains quite astounding observations regarding the implementation of the EU-funded projects toward refugees in Turkey has been compiled by Y. Emre Küçükkaya and published by AIMS 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.
Last weekend, a summit titled “Migration, Refugees and Humanity” took place in Kartepe, Turkey, bringing together state figures from Turkey and other countries, as well as INGOs and academicians. The gathering served to spread diplomatic messages on how the Turkish state is managing the so-called refugee crises, including the increasing efforts on refugee-returns, and the ever-existing expectancy of closer collaboration and financial support from the EU. The only cover in English we could find on the event is through the state-allied Daily Sabah, therefore it does not present a critical perspective on the content, but still is interesting to see a snapshot on key persons’ interactions.
” [Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu] said that in order to continue to do the best it can, Turkey must evaluate the successes and failures of its refugee integration policies, alluding to the fact that just as in Europe, many Turks are fearful of terror and the flooding of the job market by refugees. He said that in order to fix terror at home, one must deal with terror abroad first.”
Following our attendance at the Kritnet Conference in last May, we finally had the chance to share our contributions in HarekAct. One of our editors focused on the post EU-Turkey deal context in Istanbul, Turkey, which is marked by policies and practices of marginalization, irregularization and criminalization of migrants. The unfavorable conditions in the provision of registration, services and protection, with the implementation of additional mechanisms of securitization, detention and forced deportation, has had the impact of extending the constraints of the global border regime further to directly affect the living experiences of migrants in Istanbul.
In July, Human Rights Watch also published a report on the consequences of Turkey’s suspension of registering Syrians in Istanbul and other nine cities along the Syrian border. The report claims that this practice represents Turkey’s latest efforts in denying new asylum-seekers protection, following the closure of the borders and the shooting at individuals attempting to cross. Ultimately it is forcing Syrians to live under the risk of deportation, without access to urgent services, and having to depend on smugglers inside Turkey.