A relative of victims in Agathonisi shipwreck speaks at a demonstration in Athens and asks central questions.
UNHCR data on returns from Greece published by the Ankara Initiative for Migration Studies:
- The number of total returns amounts to 1583 within the last two years. (91%: Men, 5%: Children, 4%: Women)
- Around 41 % of these returns are from Afghanistan followed by the Syrians with 17 percent.
- “47 % did not express a will to apply for asylum or withdrew their will to apply for asylum or withdrew their asylum claims in Greece.” In other words, they wanted to stay in Turkey or lost their eagerness/hopes to be back in Greece and the EU. [Read the 1-page report]
Via The Black Sea – 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.
Via Deutsche Welle – A clampdown on Europe’s eastern borders and the Aegean Sea has forced migrants to seek different — and more dangerous — routes to the continent. Hunters and fishermen find their bodies, reports Anthee Carassava.
Its endless swathes of sensational sand dunes, swamps and reed beds have made it an attractive crossing for destitute refugees. In fact, since the European Union and Turkey struck a deal that has helped plug the most popular migration route to the Continent — the Aegean Sea — the nearly 200-kilometer (124 mile) Evros River has seen refugee flows surge.
Via Newsdeeply – On the second anniversary of the E.U.-Turkey deal that curbed refugee boats to Greece, experts from Turkey, Greece and Germany weigh in on the agreement’s impact on refugees and on Europe.
The E.U.-Turkey statement of March 20, 2016, was a turning point in Europe’s crisis over refugees.
Under the deal, Turkey would prevent boats leaving its shores for Greece, while Athens would return arriving migrants to Turkey. In exchange, the E.U. would increase funding and resettlement for refugees in Turkey, along with other political sweeteners.
Very little of the deal’s original provisions have been implemented, but the number of boats did drop drastically (while continuing to fluctuate, just as the journey continues to be deadly). Coming after 1 million people arrived in Europe in 2015, E.U. policymakers continue to defend the deal as a major success.
At the same time, human rights groups say many of their warnings about the agreement have been realized: Refugees are warehoused in dire conditions on the Greek islands while Turkey threatens a new surge in refugee boats to ward off criticism about its human rights situation.
On the second anniversary of its signing, we asked experts from Turkey, Greece and Germany weigh in on the agreement’s impact on refugees and on Europe.
Continue reading Expert Views: The E.U.-Turkey Deal After Two Years
Via ANSA med – Turkish authorities have apprehended over the past week a total of 5,371 migrants and refugees who were trying to illegally cross the borders with the European Union or to enter the country, the Turkish interior ministry has said. They included 389 who were intercepted at sea, it said. The ministry also said that 136 suspected human traffickers were arrested. Continue reading Migrants: over 5,000 apprehended in Turkey in 7 days
Via Bordermonitoring Bulgaria – Last month (12th-14th February 2018) members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament were present in Bulgaria to collect objective first-hand information on the Bulgarian-Turkish land border. After the visit Marie-Christine Vergiat, the leader of the committee mentioned the technique of the Bulgarian border guards who are calling the Turkish collegues to avoid an ‚official push-back‘, which would mean a violation against the Non-refoulement principle: Continue reading The (unseen) violent and forced push-backs on the Bulgarian-Turkish land border
Via Milliyet (Link in Turkish) – 154 migrants were caught in Dikili, a district of Izmir, while they were trying to cross to the Greek island Lesvos by rubber boats. The Coast Guard teams intervened and intercepted 154 migrants, including women and children, mostly from Syrian, Cameroon, Ghana, Angola and Senegal. They were first brought to the Dikili Coast Guard Command. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided humanitarian assistance for them. It is stated that they will be sent to the Izmir Provincial Directorate of Migration after the proceedings.
taz.gazete published a reportage on Turkish citizens fleeing their country: Kurds, political activists, dismissed academics, people who are being acused of having ties to the coup attempt because of their membership in the Gülen movement, war objectors… For many, the first point of their flight is Greece. taz.gazete reports in German and Turkish on life for Turkish refugees in Greece.
Via Ekathimerini – More than 1.800 migrants arrived on the Greeks islands in January, according to the European Border and Coast Agency Frontex on Tuesday. The number of arrivals in January, mostly Syrian and Iraqi nationals, represented a 43 percent drop compared to the previous month.