Turkish state’s ongoing deportation campaign leaves many with fear | Hostile environment towards Syrian refugees grows beyond Turkey, including Lebanon and Jordan | Greece and Islands: not far from the context in Turkey | Threats and violations towards returnees in Syria | Turkey-US joint military talks on establishment of a safe zone in Northern Syria
Turkish State’s Ongoing Deportation Campaign Leaves Many With Fear:
As the deadline which Turkish authorities set for unregistered migrants to leave Istanbul, 20 August, approaches, different opinions and accounts of the deportations remain on the agenda past week (regardless that the deadline is announced to be extended to October 30th, after we have prepared this digest). We mentioned earlier the report released by We Want To Leave Together Initiative regarding the two weeks of deportations, which is available here now in English.
Another report has been released by Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ, which documents several cases where Syrians, including young and old men, women with children and an unaccompanied minor, some of whom had Temporary Protection IDs, were deported to Syria. Several witnesses interviewed by STJ also told that their Turkish neighbors reported the houses where Syrians live to the authorities, and the police, for its part, intentionally raided these houses at midnight or dawn.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are currently living under siege in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. Using the term “siege” is no exaggeration here – many don’t dare step out of their homes to secure their basic needs. They cannot go to work, and they can’t even leave their homes in order to try and correct their legal situation, according to the demands of the Turkish government. Even in their homes, tens of thousands of Syrians don’t feel safe. It is reported that Turkish police patrols have entered homes in Istanbul and Gaziantep, arresting anyone without a Temporary Protection ID, and even those who have Temporary Protection IDs but registered in different provinces.
The fear overwhelming Syrians in Turkey today is compounded and multi-layered. Just as resources are distributed unequally in this world, the level of fear amongst Syrians varies with their legal and economic situation. Nevertheless, all are scared, and their fear is a complex tale that could seem hard to explain.
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.
Up to 300,000 civilians recently flee due to
attack in northwest Syria – People demand the opening of Turkish border | Syrians
returning for Eid al-Fitr fear prosecution in Syria | Migrants tortured by
Greek police and pushed back to Turkey | Pushback-alike attack in the Aegean |
Chased person dies at the Turkish seaside | Turkish police claim to break up
“Europe’s biggest people-smuggling ring” | Hundreds of refugees
misallocated as “not willing to become resettled” by UNHCR Turkey| Difficulties
obtaining Syrian documents in Turkey | Report about African communities in
News & Reports
Up to 300,000 civilians recently flee due to
attacks in northwest Syria – People demand Turkish border to be opened
According to press-reports the situation at the Syrian-Turkish border is worsening. Between 200,000 to 300,000 civilians have recently fled due to attacks by Russian and Assad forces in northwest Syria. Most of them have sought refuge along the border with Turkey. Camps are already overcrowded, people have established new ones close to the Turkish border wall. Many of them are desperate and angry due to a lack of protection and the missing response of Turkey as well as international actors.
Turkey is called upon to open the border as the bombardments displaced Syrians from Idlib area | Two more refugee camps in the south-east will soon be emptied | Syrians cross into Syria during Ramadan holiday to check what they have left behind | Arbitrary ill-treatment against lawyers visiting Harmandalı Removal Center | How EU-Turkey deal created prison islands to deter asylum-seekers
Widespread bombardment does not spare the civillians in Idlib area, Turkey is asked to open the border for more than 200,000 displaced:
Detentions of irregular migrants in Turkey | Situations in the Aegean Sea | Push-Backs from Greece | Working conditions in Turkey | New wall at Turkish-Syrian border | Afghan entrepreneurs in Esenyurt, Istanbul
Numbers & Media Coverage of Detentions of Irregular
Migrants in Turkey
Birgün has reported on the figures released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of numbers of migrants in Turkey. According to the reports, in the first four months of 2019 (January until April) the numbers of migrants crossing to the Greek islands decreased by 17.6 percent compared to the previous year. Further, a total of 79,002 migrants – among which were 32,942 Afghans, 11,691 Pakistanis and 6,432 Syrians – were arrested during the same period. The internal ministry reports that the number of detentions decreased by 2.44 percent, while the number of deportation increased by 34 percent compared to the same period in 2018. The Turkish Interior Ministry recorded a total of 268,000 arrests of irregular migrants in 2018.
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.
New Report on Migrant
Workers | 5 Afghans died in fire in Ankara | 6 people died in shipwrecks in the
Aegean | Election campaigns fuel Racist Discourses | New Report on Syrians
Women’s perspectives on Life in Turkey
Ankara based ISIG (Health and Safety Labour
Watch, Turkey) have released their report on refugee workers in Ankara. The turkish-language report finds that
wages for migrant workers begin from 200 TL weekly but vary according to age
and working experience. Child labourers earn around 20 TL per day in gathering
recycling materials and up to 250 TL per week in furniture workshops. After
five Syrian workers died in a fire in January, their employer offered 30,000 TL
to their families in compensation, which they did not accept. The families, who
have to live off around 300 TL per week since losing their breadwinners, have
started legal procedures against the employer. Just last week again, 5 Afghan workers died when the
abandoned building in an industrial area they were living in outside of Ankara,
caught fire. They had been collecting paper and other garbage for around 50 TL
a day, working for around 16-17 hours for 7 days of the week. We hope to follow
up on this topic further on HarekAct.
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”.