Following the outrage on the Syrians celebrating the new year in Istanbul, Turish interior minister gave an extensive interview to the journalist Kübra Par. While trying to ease the xenophobic sentiments by denying the myths on Syrians, such as “they are accepted to universities without examination”, “they don’t wait lines in the hospitals” or “they are given free public housing”; minister Soylu promotes a cultural and moral perspective on Syrians that highlights a historicized imagination of brotherhood of religion and in arms. Minister Soylu also claims some significant data on Syrians: such as 294k as the number of returnees to Syria, 65k as the number of work permit holders, 76,443 as the number of citizenships granted, and 645k as the children who were integrated to public education system. The full interview can be read in Turkish via HaberTurk. Below if s brief report by the News Tribe, based on the same interview.
Molly O’Toole covers the complexity of the life between displacement and return for Syrian refugees in Turkey. Putting together the stories of several Syrian interviewees, the article manifests the challanges regarding the flight to Turkey, the living conditions with severe barriers to registration, education, work and health, as well as the expectancies on resettlement despite the rising return discourse on refugees:
“The refugees face a no-win situation: If they return to Assad’s Syria, they risk conscription, disappearance and sectarian retribution, as well as an utter lack of basic services and opportunity. If they stay in Turkey, they face chronic uncertainty and destitution, as domestic and international politics turn against them.”
Via Newsweek – It was June 2011, and Barzan Ramo scrambled inside from the balcony. The 22-year-old college student was studying for his final exams in Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria when rebel groups and regime forces backing President Bashar al-Assad clashed beneath him.
On 13th of December 2018, Refugees International published a report concerning the conditions of Afghan asylum-seekers in Turkey, titled “‘You Cannot Exist in This Place:’ Lack of Registration Denies Afghan Refugees Protection in Turkey”. The report claims crucial recommendations to DGMM, UNHCR, EU and US on the facilitation of registration, resettlement and protection for Afghan asylum-seekers. The full report is accesible here in English and Turkish.
As Turkey takes sole responsibility from UNHCR for processing the asylum claims of Afghans and other non-Syrians, it must register them and allow them to access their basic rights, say Refugees International’s Izza Leghtas and Jessica Thea.
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.”
Even though Lebanon recently announced a slowdown in the number of Syrians returning from Lebanon, as several returning Syrians had recently been killed, the Turkish state run Anadolu agency reports about thousands of Syrians crossing the border back to Syria.
Thousands of Syrian refugees return home from Turkey
Via Ahval –Thousands of Syrians have left Turkey over the past fortnight to return to their hometowns liberated from militants in northwestern Syria, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
ERBIL – Iraq’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration on Thursday stated that they had brought back hundreds of Iraqi nationals who had fled to neighboring Turkey over the past few years as refugees because of Islamic State (IS) threats.
Following the emergence of IS in 2014 and its violent spread over the province of Nineveh, hundreds of thousands of people fled to the Kurdistan Region, Syria, and Turkey. The number considerably increased in the years after as the fight against the jihadist group intensified.
Since the defeat of IS last year, the Iraqi federal government has been working on helping refugees outside of Iraq voluntarily return to liberated areas.
The Director-General of the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, Star Nawrouz, said in a statement that his ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and the Center for the management of joint crises, had returned 327 Iraqi refugees to the Kurdistan Region from Turkey through the international border crossing of Ibrahim Khalil.
Almost all the refugees are from inside and surrounding areas of Mosul. Iraqi authorities would soon provide buses to transport them to their homes in the eastern and western suburbs of Iraq’s second largest city, the statement added.
The return of Iraqis to their homes from neighboring countries is part of the “free voluntary return” program, Nawrouz explained.
He noted his ministry, working with the UNHCR, provided food and drinking water to those making their way back to Iraq.
In August, Iraq brought back more than 100 of its citizens who were in Turkey, whether fleeing the violence or who had been seeking refuge for some time.
Over the past few years, the Kurdistan Region has been home for some two million Iraqi displaced people and Syrian refugees.
The Kurdish semi-autonomous region continues to host 1.4 million displaced individuals as many of them refuse to return to their liberated areas due to a lack of security and basic services.
Here we are posting 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.
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.
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 tremendous 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-allegiant 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.”
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→
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.