Tag Archives: Foreign Relations of Turkey

HarekAct’s weekly Digest 11/11/2019

21 October – 10 November

Reports of human rights groups on Turkey’s ‘forced’ voluntary return practices and ‘unsafe’ safe-zone not welcomed by Turkish officials | EU mobilises millions of Euros to Turkey for increasing migration control | Still, and once again, Erdoğan threatens the EU with refugees | Increasing crossings also on the Greek-Turkish land border | Bulgaria’s response to irregular crossings at Bulgarian-Turkish border


Reports of Human Rights Groups on Turkey’s ‘Forced’ Voluntary Peturn Practices and ‘Unsafe’ Safe-Zone not Welcomed by Turkish Officials

The Turkish state’s attempt to remove Syrian refugees to so-called safe-zone in Northern Syria have been proven to be unrighteous by several reports released in the past weeks, as the deadline given to unregistered Syrians to leave Istanbul, 30 October, approached.

Human Rights Watch’s report details the hostile and unlawful treatment involved in the arbitrary deports and detentions of Syrians in Istanbul and Antakya between January and September 2019. The report underlines that a significant number of Syrians are being deported against their will to one of the most dangerous areas in Syria, Idlib, where at least 1,089 civilians have been killed since April. HRW invites Turkey’s Interior Ministry to ensure that Turkish authorities do not use violence against Syrians or other detained foreign nationals and to hold any officials using violence to account. – 24.10.2019

Amnesty International’s report also accuses Turkish authorities of forcibly deporting hundreds of Syrian refugees back to war-torn areas in the north of Syria, by using threats, force and deception. The report includes testimonies of refugees who were beaten into signing ‘voluntary return’ documents, and others who signed in order to receive blankets from detention centres. “Returns until now have been anything but safe and voluntary – and now millions more refugees from Syria are at risk” says Anne Shea from AI. – 25.10.2019

Following these, Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management published an on-line press statement on 25th October (in Turkish only) to declare that Amnesty International’s report “does not reflect the truth”. The statement considers such reports to be unfair in light of the great effort and commitment shown by Turkey in hosting 4 million refugees alone while several countries in Africa and Europe have been stages for violence and inhumane conditions against foreigners in detention centers. It is claimed that 364.663 people have returned to Syria voluntarily up to date, and the returns have been carried out in compliance with international law. In another attempt to deny the claims of human rights defenders, the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told to AlJazeeraOur authorities has been carrying out the ‘repatriating process’ in collaboration the UN refugee agency and other non-governmental organisations. Our country has in every opportunity always stressed that refugee returns should be voluntary, secure and in line with the international law.” – 25.10.2019

On 1 November, the day after “the time given to Syrians” was over, Human Rights Association – Turkey (IHD) and We Want to Live Together initiative released their second joint report on Deportations ad Human Rights Abuses towards Refugees (full report available only in Turkish). The report includes a significant number of accounts – received via applications made to IHD by phone or mail – of “voluntary” forced deportations and ill-treatment by police officers, as well as the effects of deportations on family unity, the findings on human rights abuses in working environment, breaches on right to health and a list of demands against all these. IHD mentioned that the situation has turned into a humanitarian crises in Istanbul as the findings imply that “migrants cannot leave their houses for even their basic needs due to the climate of fear”, “the practice of ‘administrative detention’ has turned into ‘forced detention'”, and “voluntary repatriation documents are proven to be invalid considering high number of applications to return to Turkey”, among others. – 01.11.2019

EU Mobilises Millions of Euros to Turkey for Increasing Migration Control:
Maciej Popowski, the European Commission Deputy Director General for Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, has announced in a meeting at Brussels that the EU is preparing to pay Turkey 50 million euros in order to improve the capacities of its coast guard, improve the conditions in migrant detention centers and help refugees to integrate. The money will be drawn from a budget meant to prepare Turkey for its accession to the European Union and from a separate “peace and stability” fund, he said. – 06.11.2019

Another EU commissioner, Christos Stylianides, had already announced earlier that €663 million will be provided in humanitarian aid for major cash support (ESSN), education and healthcare projects under the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. – 31.10.2019

Still, and Once Again, Erdoğan Threatens the EU with Refugees:
Speaking alongside Hungary’s right wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on 7 November, Erdoğan told reporters the refugees will be allowed into Europe unless the EU provides more support “Whether we receive support or not, we will continue to aid the guests we are hosting. But, if this doesn’t work out, then we will have to open the doors,”

Increasing Crossings also on the Greek-Turkish Land Border:
InfoMigrants reports on crossings across the Evros River as well as push-backs, violent and illegal treatments by authorities and ‘masked men’. Although there are mixed reports about how many people are crossing via this border, the numbers provided by IOM indicate a steady increase in the last months, from 255 arrivals in May to 1,233 in September. – 06.11.2019

Bulgaria’s Response to Irregular Crossings at Bulgarian-Turkish Border:
Bulgarian Ministry of Interior confirmed that Border Police officers prevented 2,122 attempts of ‘illegal’ entry at the border with Turkey between 1 January and 31 October 2019, and 206 people were detained. The ministry has also approved the emergency response plan as a result of “increased migration pressure” along Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, which will probably result in further militarization and surveillance technologies to be implemented along the border. – 12.11.2019

HarekAct’s Weekly Digest 31/07/2019

22nd – 28th July

People getting deported from Küçükçekmece district, Istanbul .

Update concerning inhumane and unlawful deportations of Syrians | Condemn of deportations across broad range of civil society actors| Anti migrant discourse fueled by many politicians | Tense atmosphere in Istanbul | Turkey suspends readmission agreement with EU | Horrifying conditions at Harmandalı Removal Center | Report of 25 refugees who froze to death at the Turkish-Iranian border

Update concerning inhumane and unlawful deportations of Syrians

Following reports in the previous weeks about mass deportations of Syrians, several journalists and Institutions have published further details about the (ongoing) inhumane and unlawful deportations of Syrians living in Turkey. Rights groups in Istanbul claim that within one week between 600 and 1500 Syrians were wrongfully returned from Istanbul to Syria. It is reported, through discussions on social media and by people with contacts in the communities, that other migrant groups, particularly those who are living and working undocumented in Istanbul are also being targeted.

Condemn of deportations across broad range of civil society actors

Several Human rights organizations have harshly criticized the deportations in public statements.

Continue reading HarekAct’s Weekly Digest 31/07/2019

HarekAct’s Weekly Digest 04/03/2019

Talks on ‘safe zone’///Ongoing return discourse///Arbitrary deportations///Migrant labour/// Municipal-level responses to refugees


Photo: AFP

U.S. delegation visited Turkey presumably to discuss the Syrian “safe zone”: After Trump reversed his decision to fully withdraw from Syria with the continued presence of about 400 US troops, the meeting was expected to discuss the stalled talks concerning a safe zone across the border in Northern Syria, an issue which the two sides have divergent views on, according to some sources.  Trump’s senior adviser Kushner’s three-hour meeting with Erdogan ended without an official statement. – 27.02.2019

Continue reading HarekAct’s Weekly Digest 04/03/2019

Harek Act’s Weekly News Digest 26/02/2019

We introduce you to our new weekly news digest on 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.”
Continue reading Harek Act’s Weekly News Digest 26/02/2019

NY Times: “Spurning Erdogan’s Vision, Turks Leave in Droves, Draining Money and Talent”

A commuter train in Istanbul passed an election poster for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last June. Mr. Erdogan won re-election with greater powers, but the economy has faltered since then.

Via The New York Times

By Carlotta Gall

ISTANBUL — For 17 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won elections by offering voters a vision of restoring the glories of Turkey’s Ottoman past. He extended his country’s influence with increased trade and military deployments, and he raised living standards with years of unbroken economic growth.

This article was originally published by The New York Times

Daily Sabah on Kartepe Summit: “Turkey, Greece show cautious optimism in light of summit on refugees”

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.”

Continue reading Daily Sabah on Kartepe Summit: “Turkey, Greece show cautious optimism in light of summit on refugees”

Istanbul Syria peace offers few solutions to the conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron during a summit to find an end to the war in Syria, in Istanbul, on October 27, 2018. AFP

Via the National

Syria and Washington were both absent from the talks aimed at ending a war in its eighth year.

A “complete cease-fire,” an “inclusive Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process” and “safe and voluntary return of refugees” were some of the phrases uttered by Turkish and European leaders at a summit in Istanbul on Saturday, aimed at laying the groundwork for a peace process in the devastating civil war in Syria, now in its eighth year. Continue reading Istanbul Syria peace offers few solutions to the conflict

Italian Minister Accuses Turkey of Not Fulfilling Migrant Deal Despite EU Money

Via Sputnik (23.07.18) – Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Monday that Turkey was not fulfilling its agreement with the European Union to help curb migration to Europe, despite Ankara having received financial aid that was promised under the deal, pointing out that 1,200 migrants had arrived to Italy from Turkey since the beginning of 2018.

Continue reading Italian Minister Accuses Turkey of Not Fulfilling Migrant Deal Despite EU Money