Via Ahval – A lawyer representing eight Turkish servicemen who sought asylum in Greece following the country’s 2016 failed coup says all his clients have been freed pending a ruling on their applications, U.S. Tampa Bay newspaper reported.
Major European Union countries expressed disquiet at having to pay for their six billion Euro deal with Turkey to keep Syrian refugees away from the EU
Despite a significant drop in Syrian refugees entering Europe from Turkey, member states did not want to finance the mega-deal from their national coffers, and instead asked to raid pre-accession funds or divert cash from the EU budget. Continue reading Secret EU docs show conflict over cash for EU-Turkey refugee deal
The European Union is funding military equipment used by Turkey to stop refugees from fleeing the Syrian Civil War and entering the EU
Via The Black Sea -By Zeynep Sentek and Sebnem Arsu.
Under an agreement in March 2016, the EU pledged six billion Euro to Turkey to effectively trap millions of refugees within its country and stop them from entering the European Union.
This is not the only cash from the EU. It also pays Turkey for military equipment which is used at its borders with Syria and Greece to halt those wishing to seek asylum in the 28-member bloc.
An investigation into EU contracts by Politiken and Danwatch (Denmark) in partnership with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) reveals that EU has supplied Turkey with 83 million Euro in armoured military vehicles and surveillance equipment for what witnesses say is aggressive patrolling of the borders.
These deals also risk the EU being complicit in possible violations of the international rights of refugees. Continue reading No Way Out
Via The Telegraph – Greek soldiers fired warning shots at a Turkish helicopter after it approached a tiny Greek island in the eastern Aegean, in a dangerous escalation of tension between the regional rivals.
The island of Ro, which lies just a few miles off the Turkish coast, became the latest flashpoint between the neighbours after months of growing friction and nationalist rhetoric.
The incident, in which Greek soldiers reportedly fired tracer rounds towards the Turkish helicopter, happened late on Monday night.
After the shots were fired, the helicopter, which had buzzed the island at a low altitude, left the area.
Via Ekathimerini – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim on Tuesday evening amid rising tension in the Aegean.
Tsipras reportedly told Yildirim that incidents such as the one on Monday night, when a Turkish coast guard boat rammed a Greek patrol vessel, undermine Turkey’s relations with Greece and the European Union and contravene international law.
The Greek leader called for Turkey to end its breaches of Greece’s air space and territorial waters and for there to be de-escalation in the region. Continue reading Tsipras speaks to Turkish PM amid increasing tension in Aegean
Via Ekathimerini – A Turkish patrol boat reportedly rammed a Greek coast guard vessel that was anchored off the island of Imia in the Aegean at around midnight on Monday.
The incident did not result in any no injuries but only minor damage to the stern of the Greek vessel, yet it serves to illustrate the heightened tension in the area where Greece and Turkey came on the brink of war 22 years ago. Continue reading Turkish coast guard vessel rams Greek patrol boat off Imia
Via Al-Monitor – This past November, three bodies were found washed ashore the Greek island of Lesbos. They were later identified as a Turkish husband and wife, Huseyin and Nur Maden, and one of their three children. The Madens were teachers in Turkey, but they were among the 150,000 civil servants dismissed from their jobs after the failed coup in July 2016. Some of those dismissed tried to flee to Greece to avoid arrest or find work. More than 12,000 Turks applied for asylum in Europe for the first time in 2017, according to Eurostat. This figure is triple what it was the year preceding the failed coup and is the highest it has been in the past decade. Continue reading A new refugee flow to Europe: Turkish refugees
Via Ekathimerini – In a bid to reduce overcrowding at migrant reception centers on the Aegean islands, the government is to propose to Turkey that asylum seekers who are not high on the list of eligibility for protection be transferred to camps on the mainland and subsequently to Turkey, Kathimerini understands.
“We are asking that we be allowed to conduct returns either directly from the islands or from the mainland in the context of the EU-Turkey joint statement,” a government official told Kathimerini, referring to a deal between Brussels and Ankara signed in March 2016 aimed at curbing migrant smuggling across the Aegean. Continue reading Athens to propose transfer of migrants to Ankara
Via Ekathimerini – An administrative court on Monday issued an order to temporarily freeze a decision to grant asylum to one of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after a failed Turkish coup in 2016 with the case to be heard next month. Meanwhile, following a decision by the Greek Police’s immigration unit, the serviceman is to remain in custody until a final decision is issued on his asylum.
The court on Monday accepted an appeal by the Greek state to suspend the ruling which was issued last month by a tribunal. In accordance with the temporary ruling, the serviceman is banned from leaving the country. Continue reading Court freezes decision to grant asylum to Turkish serviceman
Via Deutsche Welle – Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the first sitting Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years. Could the EU-Turkey refugee deal be a sticking point during his landmark trip to Athens?
Erdogan is also expected to speak with his Greek hosts about the flow of refugees to Europe. Officially, Athens has signaled its satisfaction with the EU-Turkey Refugee Deal reached in March 2016. One point of the agreement stipulates that Turkey take back refugees that have illegally traveled from Turkish territory to reach Greece’s eastern Aegean islands. In Athens’ view, the agreement is working, as the number of new arrivals has gone down substantially since 2016. The fact that Turkey has only been able or willing to take back 1,400 people since then, however, has caused consternation.
Read the whole article at Deutsche Welle