Restrictive policies towards Syrians post Municipality Elections | Increased securitization of Turkey-Bulgaria Border | Numbers of Migrants Crossings | Syrian Opposition Journalism in Turkey | ‘Voices from Samos’
Continued politicization of anti-Syrian sentiment following municipal elections
Representatives of both the AKP and CHP parties, newly elected in the 31 March municipality elections, continue to use anti-Syrian sentiment as a key platform to gain popular support. The recently appointed CHP Mayor of Bolu, Tanju Özcan, has followed through on delivering his two pre-election promises of 1) Cutting off municipal financial aid to Syrians and other asylum seekers and 2) Not granting them municipal permits to open businesses in Bolu. In doing so he is privileging so-called economic tensions created by Syrians as the main “issue” to be resolved, despite the economic revenue generated by unregistered businesses opened by them.
Racism against Syrians in local elections | Malpractice in police custody against Iranians | A graveyard for Syrians in Izmir | Claims for a birthright citizenship in Turkey | Critical perspectives on the EU-Turkey deal | Calls for giving a voice to refugees/migrants
Local elections on March 31 and racism
Kristina Jovanovski reports for NBC News about increasing racist sentiments against the Syrian population in Turkey. According to her report, Turkish people are blaming Syrians for higher job competition and are complaining about increasing cultural differences. Syrian people interviewed by the author report that they are facing racism on a regular basis, increasing their feelings of insecurity in Turkey. Both members of the AKP and the CHP have publicly called for a return of all Syrians to Syria during their respective election campaigning. Omar Kadkoy of Tepav think tank (The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey) sees them as a “convenient scapegoat” and argues that it is the low number of job permits granted by the government which is responsible for employers being able to pay Syrians less in informal employment, “feeding into perceptions that Syrians are stealing jobs and lowering wages”.
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
Turkey’s state-run news agency “Anadolu Agency” has been providing contradicting numbers on the irregular migrants held by Turkish authority across the country. By the beginning of this year, the agency announced the number of the migrants held in the seas around Turkey to be 26,678 for 2018, indicating a rise of 21.6 percent compared to 2017. Regarding 2019, the numbers released so far sum up to more than 2,500.
Al Monitor on Turkey’s plans of creating a safe zone along its border with Syria, which according to the Turkish President would allow millions of Syrians to ‘return home’. Frustrated by the slow process, Erdogan signaled that Turkey would proceed with their plans even without the involvement of the US and Russia.
Via Al Monitor – “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his pledge to launch a military offensive in northern Syria, saying on Monday that his military aims to create a safe zone in the area so that the 4 million or so Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkey can return home.”
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.
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.
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.
The presence of 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey has become an increasing source of tension among Turkish people and the Turkish government also appears to be losing sympathy for those displaced by the conflict.
The Interior Ministry this month closed the Süleyman Shah Accommodation Facility, which was established by the prime ministry in 2012 in the town of Akçakale on the Syrian border. But some of its 22,000 residents complained they had not received promised payments and alternative housing, and said they had simply been kicked out. Continue reading Turkey empties Syrian border refugee camp→