On 15th January, Turkish Coastguard has rescued 46 migrants in the Aegean Sea while recovering one body, off the southwestern Kuşadası district close to Greek island of Samos. Father of the 4-years-old girl who died at the shipwreck claimed that the Greek Coastguard pushed back their boat: “It was so inhumane. They tried to kill us”
Via InfoMigrants – The Turkish coastguard has reportedly rescued 46 migrants from a sinking rubber boat in the Aegean Sea. The body of a young girl was recovered.
Human Rights Watch published a report on 18th of December (see the full report in English, Turkish or Greek) regarding the violent push-backs commited by Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region. While the officers in some cases were said to use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings, HRW urged the Greek authorities to cease summary returns to Turkey, investigate abuses, and hold those responsible to account.
“All those interviewed said they were transported to the border with Turkey in groups of 60 to 80, in military trucks or unmarked vans. In all but three cases, the agents wore face masks, black pants, or camouflage, making it impossible to recognize or identify them. In the three other cases, interviewees said police in regular blue and camouflage uniforms transported them to the river. Ten out of 26 interviewees said they were physically abused or witnessed others being ill-treated during the pushback operation.”
Along with a press release the Greek Council for Refugees , the Association for the Social Support of Youth, and HumanRights360 published a report about the continuous push-backs of third country nationals on the Evros river.
Via Daily Sabah* – The controversial and illegal practice of “pushback,” forcibly sending illegal migrants to countries they arrived from, is in the spotlight once again after the bodies of three migrants were found near the Turkish border. Greece is accused of sending back the migrants after stripping them of their clothes in freezing temperatures. Minister for Citizen Protection, Olga Gerovasili, whose ministry oversees border security, denied the allegation and told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Greece is not involved in such incidents. Yet, figures provided to AA by Turkish security sources show many illegal migrants were forced to go back to Turkey by Greek officials; some 2,490 migrants were “pushed back” in November alone.
The bodies of three people thought to be irregular migrants have been found in separate border villages in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province, security sources said Tuesday.
The body of one migrant — thought to be of Afghan origin — was found in the village of Serem, while the bodies of two more migrants were found in the villages of Akçadam and Adasarhanlı, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The Greek group ‘Racist Crime Watch‘ published new evidence of police violence and illegal push-backs of asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey via the Evros river. In a letter to the Commissional for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, they address these mistreatments:
Another video evidence of police violence and illegal deportation of asylum seekers in Evros
Further to our 9 and 29 September 2018 letters, we are sending another update with information published in Hurriyet Daily News and reprinted (without editing) here.
Via Hurriyet Daily News (13th November) – Turkish villagers warmly welcome migrants after Greek police beat them naked
Residents of the Kiremitçi Salih village in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne warmly welcomed a group of migrants they found naked and exhausted in their fields late Nov. 11.
Via The Guardian [16.10.2018] – With tension mounting in Idlib, people trying to flee across the border are being given the choice of detention or waiving their right to asylum
Tareq* can recall in detail each of the 22 times he climbed over the concrete border wall, dodged a flurry of bullets, and sprinted as fast as he could – until Turkish border guards caught him and turned him back.
On his 23rd attempt, the soldiers drove the 26-year-old Syrian to a police station called Branch 500 in Hatay. There they presented him with a choice: either stay in prison – for how long, they wouldn’t say – or sign a paper and walk free.
“It’s not like they’re physically putting a gun to your head, but you have no other option,” Tareq says. He signed and the next day he was driven across the border and dropped back where he had started, in Idlib.
Linda, a 19-year-old Syrian and registered refugee, had just crossed from Turkey into Greece at the Evros River when men carrying guns appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. She wasn’t sure if they were police officers or soldiers, but they emerged from behind trees and wore dark uniforms that helped them blend into the night.
It was mid-May, and several hours earlier Linda had boarded a mini-bus in Istanbul with around 35 other people, including children and a pregnant woman, eager to enter European Union territory. The trip had been organised by smugglers, and the passengers ended up in a remote area close to the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne. At around three in the morning they boarded small boats that ferried them across the river. Continue reading An open secret: Refugee pushbacks across the Turkey-Greece border→
Via Daily Sabah (20th July) –Forty-four illegal immigrants who were apprehended by Turkish troops near the border, claimed they were beaten by Bulgarian police and sent back to Turkey, the İhlas News Agency reported. Migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran were discovered by gendarme troops guarding the border between Turkey and Bulgaria in the Kofçaz district of the Turkish province of Kırklareli on Friday. They told Turkish officials that they crossed into Bulgaria three days ago but were captured by Bulgarian police. They claimed Bulgarian police officers beat them and stole their money and valuable possessions before sending them back to the Turkish side of the border. Continue reading Migrants claim abuse by Bulgarian police→
Reporting from the kritnet conference in Göttingen – Part 2
The HarekAct editorial board attended the 16th kritnet conference in Göttingen between 11-13th of May. It was a very good occasion to share and exchange knowledge, meet our friends, activists and colleagues again and discuss future projects and plans. We took part in the workshop titled “Post 2015 Border Regime – Re-Stabilization of the European Border Regime after the ‘Long Summer of Migration’”. We discussed the extension of borders into the cities following the example of Istanbul; the state of the border regime and public debate on migration in Turkey; and the impact and future of the EU-Turkey statement for both Greece and Turkey. Besides the individual inputs, we had a rich collective discussion with various perspectives, information and experiences brought by activists, researchers and professionals from Germany, Turkey, Greece and Kurdish region, and we are looking forward to keep building on the ideas we had as well as the connections we built there.
Although with a little bit of delay, now we would like to share our contributions to the workshop one by one. Enjoy the inputs presented by HarekAct editors in written and updated form in our blog. Keep posted!
by Lisa Groß
Disobedient Border Crossings…
Since the EU-Turkey Deal, the number of clandestine border crossings has dropped substantially, and the agreement is still deterring many migrants from crossing the Aegean Sea. But that’s not the whole picture: Since April 2016, more than 60.000 people made it across the Aegean, and boats are still landing on the islands on an almost daily basis, despite augmented border control. Recently, the number of migrants arriving on the Greek Aegean islands via the sea are increasing again. While around 3.200 people arrived between April and May 2017, the number almost doubled during the same period in 2018, with circa 6.000 migrants making it safely to Greece. This year up until mid-June, circa 13.000 migrants have crossed from Turkey to Greece, with most of the boats still arriving on Lesvos island (ca. 7.000) (see UNHCR).