Reports of human rights groups on Turkey’s ‘forced’ voluntary return practices and ‘unsafe’ safe-zone not welcomed by Turkish officials | EU mobilises millions of Euros to Turkey for increasing migration control | Still, and once again, Erdoğan threatens the EU with refugees | Increasing crossings also on the Greek-Turkish land border | Bulgaria’s response to irregular crossings at Bulgarian-Turkish border
Reports ofHuman Rights Groups on Turkey’s ‘Forced’ Voluntary Peturn Practices and ‘Unsafe’ Safe-Zone not Welcomed by Turkish Officials
The Turkish state’s attempt to remove Syrian refugees to so-called safe-zone in Northern Syria have been proven to be unrighteous by several reports released in the past weeks, as the deadline given to unregistered Syrians to leave Istanbul, 30 October, approached.
Human Rights Watch’s report details the hostile and unlawful treatment involved in the arbitrary deports and detentions of Syrians in Istanbul and Antakya between January and September 2019. The report underlines that a significant number of Syrians are being deported against their will to one of the most dangerous areas in Syria, Idlib, where at least 1,089 civilians have been killed since April. HRW invites Turkey’s Interior Ministry to ensure that Turkish authorities do not use violence against Syrians or other detained foreign nationals and to hold any officials using violence to account. – 24.10.2019
Amnesty International’s report also accuses Turkish authorities of forcibly deporting hundreds of Syrian refugees back to war-torn areas in the north of Syria, by using threats, force and deception. The report includes testimonies of refugees who were beaten into signing ‘voluntary return’ documents, and others who signed in order to receive blankets from detention centres. “Returns until now have been anything but safe and voluntary – and now millions more refugees from Syria are at risk” says Anne Shea from AI. – 25.10.2019
Update concerning inhumane and unlawful deportations of Syrians | Condemn of deportations across broad range of civil society actors| Anti migrant discourse fueled by many politicians | Tense atmosphere in Istanbul | Turkey suspends readmission agreement with EU | Horrifying conditions at Harmandalı Removal Center | Report of 25 refugees who froze to death at the Turkish-Iranian border
Update concerning inhumane and unlawful deportations of Syrians
in the previous weeks about mass deportations of Syrians, several journalists and Institutions have published
further details about the (ongoing) inhumane and unlawful deportations of
Syrians living in Turkey. Rights groups in Istanbul claim that within one week between 600 and 1500
Syrians were wrongfully returned from Istanbul to Syria. It is reported,
through discussions on social media and by people with contacts in the
communities, that other migrant groups, particularly those who are living and
working undocumented in Istanbul are also being targeted.
Condemn of deportations across broad range of
civil society actors
Several Human rights organizations have harshly criticized the deportations in public statements.
Mass Deportation Campaign in Istanbul Against Syrians: #StopDeportationsToSyria | Stories and reactions shared on social media about deportations | Latest statements from the authorities on the issue | Asylum seeker woman tortured in Harmandalı Removal Center | 17 Migrants killed in bus crash in Eastern Turkey | Rising Anti-Arab Hate Also Hits Palestinians in Turkey | Syrian Woman builds her own catering business with WhatsApp
Mass Deportation Campaign in Istanbul Against Syrians:#StopDeportationsToSyria
Since around ten days, Turkish authorities have increased stop-and-search checks around Istanbul, targeting Syrians without registration papers (including those who are registered in other cities) or for working informally. It is alleged that many have been detained and eventually deported to Syria, some after having been forced to sign “voluntary repatriation” forms. The campaign is yet another wave of fear being inflicted on Syrians in Istanbul, following statements from key Turkish politicians about imposing stricter policies and controls on Syrians, and the rising anti-Syrian discourse, which we have covering in the past weeks.
Police used tear gas to disband migrants waiting at immigration office/// On people trying to reach Greek islands/// Poor reception conditions trigger returns in the context of EU-Turkey deal/// An official NGO has been set up in Turkey with the name ‘Syrians to Syria’/// New editorial features launched by Syrian independent media
Police fire tear gas on migrants waiting in front of Denizli immigration office: In the southwest city of Denizli, police reportedly used tear gas to disband a crowd who were waiting for their ID processing, scheduled for Monday morning (4 March). Dozens of migrants, mainly from Afghanistan and Iran, had camped out on Sunday night in front of the Denizli migration management office to wait, and some were sleeping on the pavement when police intervened. See more here – 05/03/2019
Talks on ‘safe zone’///Ongoing return discourse///Arbitrary deportations///Migrant labour/// Municipal-level responses to refugees
U.S. delegation visited Turkey presumably to discuss the Syrian “safe zone”: After Trump reversed his decision to fully withdraw from Syria with the continued presence of about 400 US troops, the meeting was expected to discuss the stalled talks concerning a safe zone across the border in Northern Syria, an issue which the two sides have divergent views on, according to some sources. Trump’s senior adviser Kushner’s three-hour meeting with Erdogan ended without an official statement. – 27.02.2019
Following the outrage over Syrians celebrating the new year in Istanbul, the Turkish interior minister gave an extensive interview to journalist Kübra Par. While trying to ease the xenophobic sentiments by denying myths about Syrians, such as “they are being accepted to universities without examination”, “they don’t have to wait in lines in the hospitals” or “they are given free public housing”, Minister Soylu also promotes a cultural and moral perspective on Syrians that highlights a historicized imagination of brotherhood of religion and being in arms. Minister Soylu also provides some significant data on Syrians. He says that 294,000 have returned to Syria, 65,000 have been granted work permits, 76,443 have been granted citizenship, and 645,000 children have been integrated into public education system. The full interview can be read in Turkish via HaberTurk. Below is a link to a brief report by the News Tribe, based on the same interview.
Molly O’Toole covers the complexity of a life between displacement and return for Syrian refugees in Turkey for Newsweek. Collating stories of several Syrian interviewees, the article highlights the challenges regarding the flight to Turkey, living conditions with severe barriers to registration, education, work and health, as well as the expectations on resettlement despite the rising discourse of ‘return’:
“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.”
This article was originally published by Newsweek.
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.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released footage of men bearing prominent scars on their backs as it accused Greek police of inflicting beatings on migrants and asylum seekers illicitly entering the country across the land border from Turkey.