Tag Archives: Racism

Festus Okey: a long road to justice

Due to the reopening of the case of Festus Okey last week, Pelin Çakir summarizes and comments on the murder and its contexts for HarekAct


Photo: Reyan Tuvi

by Pelin Çakır

Festus Okey, was born in 1975, in the Abia state of Nigeria, one of eleven children born to a farming couple. His brother Tochukwu migrated to South Africa to support his family in their poverty, but told Festus that conditions were very bad there, leading Festus to come to Istanbul instead in 2005. He worked in temporary jobs and played football with amateur teams in the so-called African league of Istanbul, a league which gives hope to many African young men to be discovered by the agents of professional football teams and therefore become a reputed player. His friends were calling him Okute. By coincidence, he appeared in an independent documentary which reported on the league, firstly recorded while running in the field, then unexpectedly during his funeral (how his murder was initially acknowledged by the press).

It wasn’t easy to escape the police’s ‘attention’ as a black man in Istanbul. The first time he was arrested by police for being undocumented, and kept for several months in Kumkapı detention center until he managed to file an asylum application to the UNHCR. On the early evening of 20 August 2007, Festus Okey and his friend Mamina Oga were stopped by an undercover police officer in the central Beyoğlu area of Istanbul. The police officer later described how they were apprehended with the following words “black persons and citizens from the East draw more attention with respect to narcotics”. Continue reading Festus Okey: a long road to justice

Iranians Are Converting To Evangelical Christianity In Turkey

Fariba Nawa’s report conveys the issue of religious conversion among asylum-seeking Iranians in Turkey. Despite the slippery slope, she elaborates a fair representation of glocal dynamics as they relate to people’s asylum journeys, while avoiding to make short cut statements.


Pastor Karl Vickery prays for the Iranian refugee converts in a makeshift church for the United Pentecostal congregation in Denizli, Turkey.

by Fariba Nawa

In a hotel conference room in Denizli, Turkey, about 60 Iranians sing along to songs praising Jesus mixed with Iranian pop music. When the music stops, American pastor Karl Vickery preaches with the help of a Persian translator.

“I’m not famous or rich. But I know Jesus. I have Jesus,” he says, with a Southern drawl. The Farsi-speaking Christian converts shout “Hallelujah!” and clap.

Vickery, who’s part of a visiting delegation from Beaumont, Texas, then offers to pray for each person in the room.

Continue reading Iranians Are Converting To Evangelical Christianity In Turkey

Bloomberg reports on the intolerance to migrants in the Southeastern Towns of Turkey

Selcan Hacaoglu takes on the rising anti-migrant sentiments against Syrians at the border towns of Turkey for Bloomberg Businessweek . The text involves some stigmatizing language, on which a critical reflection remains missing. Still we are posting here, since it also gives a glimpse of Syrians’ incorporation into different sectors of labour market.


A camp for displaced people in Kafr Lusin near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on April 1, 2018. Photographer: Ibrahim Yasouf/AFP via Getty Images

By Selcan Hacaoglu

As warplanes bombed his Syrian hometown of Aleppo, factory-owner Amer Hadri stepped on the gas pedal of his silver BMW 5 series and made for the safety of Turkey.

Via Bloomberg Businessweek

Case on Festus Okey murdered at Istanbul police station reopened after 11 years

On Wednesday the case on the murder of Festus Okey in Beyoglu police station of Istanbul 11 years ago was reopened. Although the audience was not allowed to enter the courtroom several newspapers report about the trial.


Via Bianet
In Festus Okey case, which has been reopened after 11 years, the court ruled that necessary documents for visa procedures for Okey’s family shall be provided. DNA reports have also been requested to prove blood relations between the family members.

The case of Festus Okey from Nigeria, who was killed at Beyoğlu Police Department in İstanbul, has been reopened after 11 years.

In today’s (December 12) hearing, which has been held at İstanbul 21st Heavy Penal Court, it has been ruled that Tochukwu Gameliah Ogu, brother of Okey, shall be invited to the trial as an observer. Having applied to intervene in the case as well, Ogu shall await the result of the DNA test, which is required for his application for intervention to be granted. Continue reading Case on Festus Okey murdered at Istanbul police station reopened after 11 years

#Justice for Festus Okey

The case on the murder of Nigerian Festus Okey in Beyoglu Police Station of Istanbul is reopening after 11 years. The groups of activists and human rights organizations declare that they will keep following the case and asking for justice.
see the facebook campaign page and event page


Via Göçmen Dayanismasi

Festus Okey Case Resumes After 11 Years

What happened?

Place of Death: Beyoglu Police Station

Festus Okey was a Nigerian asylum seeker living in Istanbul with the dream of becoming a successful soccer player. On August 20, 2007, he was arrested and later on shot by a police officer while under detention at the Beyoğlu police station. Seriously injured, he died in the hospital, where the shirt he wore on that day – a crucial piece of evidence to prove the shooting distance – went lost. Continue reading #Justice for Festus Okey

“We are afraid”

Via taz gazete An article reporting on the situation of Syrians in Izmir and growing racist tensions and attacks. Available in Turkish and German.


Foto: Sevda Aydın. Suriye’deki iç savaşın hemen başlarında en çok göç alan bölgelerden biri Basmane’ydi.

„Ceplerinde dolarlar var ama bedava çorba içiyorlar“

Büyük İskender, gördüğü bir rüyanın ardından insanların eskisinden dört kat mutlu yaşayacağını düşünerek Kadifekale’ye bir kent kurmaya karar verir. Kadifekale’de şimdilerde eskisinden dört kat daha mutsuz mülteciler yaşıyor.


„Wir haben Angst“

In İzmir leben 140.000 Syrer*innen. Viele Einheimische sehen sie als Gäste, die irgendwann wieder zurückkehren sollen – manche greifen die Geflüchteten an.


This articles were originally published by taz gazette.

Syrians in Turkey face anger and violence

Tensions mount as displaced migrants experience attacks and difficulty finding work

Syrian refugees on Istiklal avenue in Istanbul: more than 3.7 million Syrians are registered in Turkey. Photograph: Bulent kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Via The Irish Times

Turkey is home to more displaced Syrians than any other country, but growing intercommunal violence between refugees and their hosts is straining relations.

This article was originally published by the Irish Times

Sputnik News interviews Esenyurt Mayor Alatepe: “Until the end of the next year, 20 thousand Syrians will be returned home”

By Sputnik/ Elif Sudagezer. Esenyurt mayor posing proudly in front of the municipality’s busses to return Syrians. The banner in front of the bus reads: “Thanks for everything. We are going back home”

Here we are posting a link to an interview with the mayor of Esenyurt municipality of Istanbul, Turkey. Esenyurt is a lower-class peripheral  district with one of the highest number of Syrians in Istanbul. The information was spread already a while ago that the municipality is organizing busses to drive Syrians back home, creating fear within the Syrian community that they will be picked from their houses and streets and forced for return. Below, the mayor’s statements quoted just as they were broadcasted by Sputniknews apparently demonstrate the perspective of the Turkish regime pretty well.


Via SputnikNews

Elif Sudagezer from Sputnik News reported that Esenyurt Municipality of Istanbul, Turkey repatriated 100 Syrians to Jarabulus and Afrin. By the interview he gave to Sputnik, Ali Murat Alatepe stated that 3500 Syrians were returned up until now and they are planning to return 20 thousand more until the end of the next year.

You can find the full text of the article in Turkish at SputnikNews

HarekAct Newsletter VI – July, August and September 2018

TURKEY’S MIGRATION MANAGEMENT REGIME

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.

Reports reveal Turkey’s further plans to engineer the movement of more Syrian populations to the outskirts of Turkey. One of the sources mentions a decision to transfer 34,180 Syrian refugees from five camps to facilities closer to the border with Syria, and another quotes Erdoğan’s pledge to create more safe zones in Syria in order to allow refugees to return. Continue reading HarekAct Newsletter VI – July, August and September 2018