Tag: Turkey

Turkey: State paramilitaries are destroying Syrian refugees’ tent homes in İzmir

As of February 8th, refugees living in tents in the Torbalı and Bayındır districts of İzmir are being evacuated in accordance with district governorate decisions through the intervention of its gendarmerie State paramilitary force. The tent areas are being removed. Thousands of refugees, who left their countries because of the civil war in Syria, have been struggling to survive as seasonal agricultural workers and living in the tent camps, constructed through their own efforts, in rural areas of İzmir.

Since Wednesday, many tent areas have been removed by gendarmerie without reason. Some tent areas were given until Monday to evacuate. Refugees whose assigned residence city is not İzmir have been expelled and people are being told they are expected to rent homes. However, for the majority of the refugees who work for very low wages it is not possible to earn enough money to move into a house.

In return for originally directing people to the tent areas and finding people jobs, “dayıbaşı” (the bosses of the areas) deduct money from refugees’ wages, pay irregularly or do not pay people at all. Since the agricultural workers need to live close to their working areas and don’t know the local language [Turkish], they are forced to accept the dayıbaşı system. Thus, being evacuated from their tents means taking away their means to an income.

What this means is that refugees who already left everything they had in Syria will, for a long time, now be unable to earn an income — demand for seasonal workers decreases in winter. They have survived through the cold weather thanks to tents, food, firing, diapers and hygiene products provided by a limited number of volunteers and CSO’s. The tent areas, which lack toilets, showers, clean water and  have been covered in mud from rainfall, are being ignored by the authorities.

These conditions affect children the most. Children are exposed to illnesses and developmental disabilities as a result of poor nutrition and health conditions. Hospitals deny treatment to refugees without documents. Even the death of baby Noaf, of pneumonia, after being refused hospital treatment did not impact government policy; which makes it particularly hard for refugees to get registered. And there are lots of children suffering from pneumonia in the camps. The threat of forced displacement by the gendarmerie further deepens the trauma of children, initially caused by the civil war and subsequent poor living conditions.

Last May, before the harvest, these tent areas providing a living space for nearly 2,000 people were removed by the district governorate. It is thought-provoking that the same action is now being taken just before seed-time, when the demand for seasonal workers increases. All this despite three years of speculation that the district governorate and municipality had plans to move people from the tent areas to one central place; to improve the living conditions of agricultural worker refugees.

The following two tabs change content below.

Two Month Report: ‘They want the Sea to Kill – We want a Bridge to Life!’

More than 5,000 lives lost in the Mediterranean in 2016

and several Shipwrecks already in 2017 –

Stop the Mass Dying at Europe’s maritime Gates!

WatchTheMed Alarm Phone 2 Month Report

21st November 2016 – 15th January 2017

On the 3rd of January, at 5.21am, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone shift team received the first distress call of 2017, from a boat in the Ionian Sea (an embayment between Greece and Italy). This was the first time that we received a call from this part of the Mediterranean Sea. The 55 people on board undertook the dangerous journey to reach a safe place after having risked already the perilous sea passage from Turkey to Greece. Some of the passengers had joined the boat in Greece, escaping the appalling conditions of the Greek camps. When the travellers called us, they had already spent 30 hours at sea. We alarmed the Italian Coastguard, who eventually rescued the precarious passengers and brought them to Italy. We kept in touch with one of them – a boy, one of 12 children on board, who had travelled all the way from Turkey and who hoped to be reunited with his uncle in Germany. He told us that his uncle had undertaken the same journey as a young man, fleeing from violence in the 1990s. One week later, the boy informed us that he had reached Germany already. While this particular story seems to have found a happy end, it demonstrates how many people, including children, have to continue to risk their lives on dangerous sea journeys to reach EUrope, as safe corridors for them do not exist.

This cruel reality was confirmed once again in the most harrowing of ways in the second week of January. On Friday the 13th of January, our shift team supported a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea. They were already close to Spain but lost orientation. The Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo searched for them but then, in the evening, decided to not continue their search overnight, which, in our eyes, was a far-reaching mistake. They seemed to problematically assume, without evidence, that the boat was still in Moroccan waters, and that Moroccan authorities were actively searching for them. When they were finally detected, one woman had lost her life on the boat, and two men remain missing. Another boat that had left from Morocco, carrying 12 people and including two small children, remains missing. The hope to find any of them alive is fading, not least as the six corpses that were already found may be from this boat.

A day later, on Saturday the 14th of January, Father Zerai alerted us to a boat carrying more than a hundred people in an emergency situation in the Central Mediterranean Sea. They were in acute distress and the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre sent out Search and Rescue vessels. However, rescue came too late for the vast majority of travellers. The vessel capsized, and only 3 men and 1 woman survived. While it was initially reported that there were about 100 fatalities, the survivors now report of many more, of possibly up to 180 people who were killed by Europe’s borders.[1]

As these cases show, the EUropean strategy of border closure does not work to stop the movements of people, but makes their journeys only lengthier, costlier, and more dangerous. The risk to perish on the way to EUrope has further increased. In 2016, the overall number of sea arrivals via the Mediterranean has dropped to 361,709, compared to about 1 million in 2015. At the same time, while the number of sea arrivals in Greece decreased after the infamous EU-Turkey deal in March 2016, the closure of the Balkan route, and worsening conditions in Greek internment camps, the arrivals from North Africa to Italy increased: more than 181,000 people successfully embarked on the perilous journey via the Central Mediterranean to Italy – even more than in the preceding years. The number of people who died or went missing in the attempt to cross has gone up from 3,771 in 2015 to more than 5,000 in 2016.[2] The real number of EUrope’s border fatalities in the Mediterranean is likely to be even higher, given that many cases are not documented.

The staggering number of sea fatalities resemble those of war zones and should prompt, with great urgency, a radical re-orientation in the ways in which EUrope governs its borders. If there were safe ways to cross, the 5,022+ would still be alive. But what we witness instead are novel draconian measures to stop people from entering EUrope. Deterrence policies are further on the rise, the sea is increasingly militarised and borders are externalised. In line with EU border externalisation strategies, as showcased with the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016, the EU is now collaborating with Libyan forces to attempt to undermine unauthorised migrant crossings in the Central Mediterranean.

The rescue and survival of those in distress at sea is obviously not a priority for Europe. Without those who struggle every day to make migrant journeys a little bit less dangerous, who have sent out humanitarian search and rescue vessels or operate, like us, hotlines to support those in distress, 2016 would have been even deadlier. And these are the actors who now face an attack by the European border agency Frontex! Frontex accused humanitarians of colluding with smugglers – a cynical accusation meant to undermine their valuable and desperately needed work and divert attention from the real causes of migrant suffering and death.[3] They do not want civilian actors and activists in the sea monitoring their border enforcement practices. They want the sea to kill. The border agency’s objective is clear: reduce search and rescue activities off the coast of Libya and let even more people drown as a policy of deterrence.

Doctors without Borders have powerfully responded to these allegations, stating: “Smugglers may indeed ‘profit from our presence’, as they will profit from the EU naval forces that work beside us and profit altogether much more from war and poverty across the world and the desperate people who look for an escape route which the EU still refuses to provide. Search and rescue is not a solution, it’s a band aid that will never prevent people from dying at sea. With more than 4,800 people drowned, suffocated, burned to death or missing in 2016 alone, we are effectively patrolling a graveyard in the Mediterranean Sea. […] MSF did not create smugglers, just like MSF did not create the conflicts and deep inequality many of those we rescue flee. Until politicians reverse this absurd situation in which we find ourselves, MSF will continue to try and save the maximum number of lives as possible, both on land and on sea.”[4]

In 2017, we will continue to support the disobedient movements that continue despite the increasing militarization, externalization of borders, and anti-search and rescue missions.

Just like in the Central Mediterranean, crossings in the Western Mediterranean have increased in 2016 – both to mainland Spain and the Spanish enclaves. On the 9th of December 2016, 438 people managed to climb the fences to the Spanish colony of Ceuta; the biggest group in a decade to enter Ceuta. In the very beginning of 2017, on the 1st of January, 1100 people tried to enter Ceuta. This led to clashes with Moroccan and Spanish police forces, and out of the 1100 people only 2 made it to Ceuta. The others were either stopped before they could reach the fences, or immediately pushed back to Moroccan territory. Only a few days later, on the 5th of January, hundreds of Moroccan police officers attacked all the camps in the forests around Nador, where they burned down the camps and arrested many. This massive attack came just weeks after it was announced that Morocco would restart their regularisation campaign. This shows clearly the massive gap between Morocco’s official human rights discourse and the de facto treatment of migrants in Morocco. While many people try to jump the fences to Ceuta and Melilla, others continue to attempt to cross the rough sea in winter. One of the reasons for their crossings is the high level of repression they face in Morocco.

For the year to come, we promise to struggle on to make sea crossings a little less dangerous, as we have done in the past two years when we supported more than 1,775 boats in distress. In 2016 alone we did so in 500 cases. We are determined to speak up against those who show hostility towards the newcomers, who preach hatred and seek to divide us. We will welcome those who had to risk their lives to find protection in a new community, a trans-border community that is inclusive and open, based upon the principles of global justice and the freedom of movement for all. We believe that a world without borders is possible, in which both Frontex and the smugglers would then have disappeared.[5]

 

Summaries of Alarm Phone Distress Cases

 In the past two months, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was alerted to situations of distress in all three regions of the Mediterranean Sea. We were engaged in 18 distress cases, of which 9 took place in the Central Mediterranean (including the case in the Ionian Sea), 6 in the Western Mediterranean and 3 in the Aegean Sea. You can find links to the individual reports of the past 6 weeks below.

 

Central Mediterranean Sea

On Tuesday the 22nd of November 2016 at about noon, Father Mussie Zerai alerted the Alarm Phone to a boat in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea and forwarded a Thuraya satellite phone number to us. We immediately recharged the credit of the phone and tried to call the travellers, but did not reach them. At 1.45pm, we informed the Italian MRCC about the boat in distress and forwarded its satellite phone number. At 6pm, the coastguard confirmed to us that the boat was found and that all travellers had been rescued. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/602

On Sunday the 27th of November 2016 at 9.20am, Father Mussie Zerai informed the Alarm Phone about a rubber boat in distress with 110 travellers on board, including 30 women and many children and babies. He forwarded their GPS position and Thuraya satellite phone number to us and we tried to call the phone, but without success. At 9.50am, he informed us about a second boat, the first one had started together with, but has lost sight of. At 10.15am, we called the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome and forwarded all information we had received so far. At 4.20pm the MRCC confirmed to us that the first boat had successfully been rescued, and at 5.20pm the confirmation of the rescue of the second boat followed. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/603

On Tuesday the 29th of November 2016, at 7.40am, we received a distress call from travellers near Tanger Med, Marocco. We could not get more information, because the phone connection broke off and we did not manage to get in touch with the travellers after the first contact. At 1:15pm, we eventually decided to call the Spanish search and rescue agency Salvamento Maritimo. They told us that they had not rescued any boats today, but that the Moroccan Marine had intercepted the boat we had been in touch with and another one. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/594

On Monday, the 5th of December 2016 at 5.35am, a contact person alerted us to a boat north of Sabratha carrying 70 travellers, amongst them families and five children. At 6.55am we decided to pass on the information we had about time and place of departure to the Italian coast guard. For the rest of the day both we and the contact person kept trying to reach the travellers, but without success. At 3am the following morning we got a confirmation that the travellers had been rescued to Catania, Italy. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/597

On Tuesday, the 6th of December 2016, we were alerted, via Father Mussie Zerai, to two boats in distress. In both cases Father Mussie Zerai had already informed the Italian coast guard. At 3.54am we learned about the first vessel, carrying 156 people, and we were forwarded their satellite phone number and their position, showing that they were north east of Tripoli. At 4.55am we informed the Italian coast guard about the vessel. At 5.20am we reached the travellers for the first time, and they gave us a new position.  From around 9.30am we could no longer reach the travellers, and by monitoring their credit we could see that they were also not in contact with others. At 11.25 Father Mussie Zerai alerted us to a second vessel in distress. He didn’t know their exact position, but forwarded their satellite phone number. At 11.36am we reached the travellers, but communication was almost impossible. At 12.28am we reached the boat again, and this time we learned that they were a group of around 100 travellers, amongst them women and children. We also managed to get their position. After this call we called the Italian coast guard and passed on the coordinates of the vessel. From around 2.30pm it was no longer possible to reach the travellers. In the evening we found a newspaper article stating that 473 travellers had been rescued by the Italian coast guard today in five different rescue operations. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/598

On Saturday, the 10th of December 2016 at 7.10am, Father Mussi Zerai alerted us to a group of 150 travellers in distress on their way from Libya to Italy, forwarding us their satellite phone number. At 7.40am we managed to reach the boat, but the connection was bad, and it was not possible to get any information. At 8.00am we reached the boat again, and this time we managed to get their position, which we passed on to the Italian coast guard. At 11.20pm we got a confirmation from the Italian coast guard that the vessel had been rescued and that all the travellers were safe. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/599

On Tuesday, the 3rd of January 2017 at 5.21am the Alarm Phone was called by a group of 53 travellers in distress on their way from Greece to Italy. We later managed to re-establish contact to the boat, and were informed that they had been travelling for more than 30 hours, and that amongst the 53 people were 12 children. We called the Italian coast guard and passed on the information and position. At 6.20am we received a confirmation from the travellers that the rescue vessel had arrived. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/600

On Friday the 13th of January 2017, our shift team was alerted to a boat in distress in the Central Mediterranean, carrying about 90 people. At 5.10pm we were able to speak to the travellers. We spoke to the Italian MRCC in Rome at 5.20pm and passed on the information we had. At 6.30pm we spoke to the travellers again and instructed them how to find their GPS position. They also informed us that they could see a big vessel nearby which, however, was not reacting to their calls for help. At 6.50pm they finally passed on their GPS position to us which we passed on to MRCC Rome. At 7.37pm, MRCC Rome thanked us for the provided information and told us that rescue operations were ongoing. At 10pm, MRCC Rome confirmed that the boat had been rescued and all people on board were safe. On the day, about 550 people were rescued in the Central Mediterranean Sea, and two dead bodies were recovered. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/607

On Saturday the 14th of January 2017, our shift team was alerted by Father Zerai at 5.43am to a vessel in distress in the Central Mediterranean, carrying over a hundred people. In the following hours, we tried to reach the travellers repeatedly on their Thuraya satellite phone, but we could not get through. The MRCC Rome informed us at 12.22pm that they were searching for the boat but they were unwilling to pass on any further information. Then the news broke in the media about a tragedy in the Central Mediterranean. MRCC Rome still refused to provide further information. Father Zerai then confirmed to us the day after what we had already feared: the boat had capsized. There were more than 100 people on the boat, and only a few survived. At 11.45am, MRCC Rome also confirmed that the boat had capsized, with only 3 men and 1 woman surviving. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/608

 

Western Mediterranean Sea

On Monday the 21st of November 2016 at 5pm, a contact person called the Alarm Phone, informing us about 8 travellers who had departed from Tanger/Morocco in the direction of Tarifa/Spain on a rubber boat on the morning of that day. He forwarded their phone number to us and asked us to alert the Spanish rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.). We did so and stayed in contact with both S.M. and the contact person during the following hours, but the travellers could not be found. On the next day at 2pm, the contact person informed us that the travellers had been rescued by fishermen and had been brought back to Morocco. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/592

On Thursday the 24th of November 2016 at 7.35am, the Alarm Phone was called by a contact person from Morocco and informed about a rubber boat that had left Tanger/Morocco at 5am, with 10 men and one woman on board. We were provided with the travellers’ phone number and were able to talk to the travellers at 8am. We alerted the Spanish rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.) at 8.15am. At 9.56am, the Spanish MRCC in Madrid called us and confirmed to us that the 11 travellers had been rescued by S.M. and were brought to Tarifa/Spain. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/593

On Tuesday the 6th of December 2016, at 9.03am, the we received a call from 11 people, including two women, in distress on their way from Morocco to Spain. They had already been on their way for around 6 hours, and the boat was starting to lose air. At 9.22am we alerted the Spanish rescue organisation, Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.), to the case. At 11.23 we got a confirmation that the boat had been intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/595

On Saturday the 10th of December 2016, at 9.00am, a contact person alerted us to a boat on its way to Tarifa, forwarding us the phone number. We managed to reach the travellers who informed us that they were a group of 10 people, including one woman, and that they had left six hours earlier. At 9.25 we called the Spanish rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.) who told us that they working on coordinating the rescue. At 11.44am we called S.M. again, and they confirmed that the travellers had been intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/596

On Tuesday, the 3rd of January 2017 at 12.05am, we were alerted by a contact person to a group of 33 travellers, amongst them four women, on their way to Spain. They had left Morocco at 4am from a beach close to Nador. Communication with the boat was very difficult. At 2.45pm we passed on the information about the vessel to the Spanish search and rescue organisation, Salvamento Maritimo (SM), in Almeria. We later spoke to the travellers who told us that water was leaking into the boat, and that they could see the aircraft of SM above them. At 7.30pm we got a confirmation that the boat had been rescued and all the travellers were safe. They were all taken back to Nador. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/601

On Friday the 13th of January 2017, our shift team was contacted by travellers on a vessel in the Western Mediterranean. In several phone conversations with the boat-people, we learned that there were 10 people on a black rubber boat that had left from Tangier/Morocco about 2am. They could not specify the exact location of their departure and were also not able to pass on their current GPS position. We reached out to Salvamento at 8.38am and passed on all the acquire information. They informed us that they were engaged in another Search and Rescue operation and wondered whether this was the boat in question. […] At 9.44am, Salvamento told us that they were in contact with the boat but not yet able to find them. As of 10.44am, we were unable to reach the boat-people any longer. […] The next day we learned that Caminando Fronteras knew of 21 people who had disappeared the day before, with two bodies already found on the beaches of Tarifa. […] The following days we received further information about the shipwrecks. […] By the time Salvamento found the boat, one woman had died on board and two men had gone missing. The survivors, 5 men and 2 women were brought to Ceuta. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/609

 

Aegean Sea

On Thursday the 24th of November 2016 at 6.45pm, a contact person informed the Alarm Phone about eight travellers who had stranded on the Greek island of Samos and forwarded a phone number to us. At 7.20pm we reached them and learned that they were seven men and one woman. They were walking in a forest but had lost orientation, even not knowing on which island they had arrived. We explained to them how to find out their position and asked them to walk on in order to find a road or even to reach a village. On the afternoon of the next day we received confirmation from the contact person that they had been picked up by the police on Samos island and had been brought to the refugee registration centre. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/604

On Friday the 25th of November 2016 at 10pm, the Alarm Phone was directly called by a woman who informed us about a friend of her, who was stuck in a forest close to the river Evros at the Turkish-Greek border for two days. She had lost contact to him 8 hours ago and was afraid that he was injured or had lost consciousness. She forwarded his last known GPS position to us, which was on the Greek side of the border, close to the village of Souflion. In the following hours we tried to reach various numbers of the Greek police and other organizations in this area, all without success. At 1.15am, we reached the Hellenic Rescue Team and convinced them to call the local emergency number 112 and to forward the GPS position of the man. At 7.40am we learned from the Greek police that they had searched at the given position and in the surrounding, but did not find anybody. In the evening of this day, the contact woman confirmed to us that a friend of her had found the missing person. He was in need of a doctor but had survived and reached Greece. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/605

On Friday the 13th of January 2017, our WatchTheMed Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by a contact person to a vessel in distress in the Aegean Sea. Shortly after midnight, our contact person informed us via Facebook about an inflatable boat near Demircili, in Turkey, seeking to reach Samos/Greece. The boat had departed about an hour earlier but now had problems with the engine. We tried to reach the travellers repeatedly, but were unable to get through. At 2.26am, the Turkish coastguard confirmed to us that the group had safely returned to land. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/606

[1] http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/fluechtlingsboot-117.html

[2] http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/regional.php

[3] https://www.ft.com/content/3e6b6450-c1f7-11e6-9bca-2b93a6856354

[4] http://msf-analysis.org/bounties-not-bodies-smugglers-profit-sea-rescues-though-no-clear-alternative-available/

[5] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/12/2016-year-world-stopped-caring-refugees-161227090243522.html

Solidarity with daily Özgür Gündem and its detained or harassed journalists

Solidarity with daily Özgür Gündem 
and its detained or harassed journalistsSolidarity also with Ragip Zarakolu, Asli Erdogan, Eren Keskin and Filiz KoçaliDaily Özgür Gündem, which has been shut down by court order, has been released as a special four-page edition carrying the headline “We will not give in”. The daily, published in solidarity, appeared in newsstands as a special edition of Atılım newspaper. On the back page, it was captioned “You cannot silence us” with photos of the daily’s workers.In the editorial article issued on the first page, following phrases were used: “We call all of our friends to repel this attack directed at our daily, and we call our people to look out for their newspaper and free press. We are repeating our unhesitant firm stance, which we have maintained against the February 28 coup that the Islamist media had remained silent about. We persist to stand against the [July 15] coup attempt. We will stand against AKP (Justice and Development Party) coup as well. We’ve never remained silent, you will not be able to silence us.”

EFJ: Özgür Gündem shut down and journalists houses raided

Özgur Gündem is the latest opposition newspaper in Turkey to be forcibly shut down following the crackdown on media in the wake of a failed coup.

A court in Istanbul ordered the closure of the pro-Kurdish newspaper on Tuesday for spreading alleged propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The move comes as Can Dündar, editor in chief of another opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, resigned from his position, claiming he would live abroad after having been condemned to 5 years in prison for allegedly divulging state secrets.

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) has called for the closure of the paper to be reversed and backed Turkish journalists’ unions calls for an end to the crackdown on independent and opposition media.

EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård said : “The use of violence against journalists and media workers are unacceptable anytime, anywher and what just happened at Özgür Gündem, the historical Kurdish daily in Turkey, is unacceptable. Apparently, the authorities are using the post-coup state of emergency situation to attack all critical voices”.

IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “We are witnessing the strangulation of free and independent media in Turkey. Journalists are being sacked and arrested, media closed and dissenting voices silenced. The world must wake up and demand the rights of Turkey’s journalists and media are upheld”.

Shortly after the announcement of the newspaper’s closure by authorities, police raided its office in İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district, reports P24 website. During the police raid, the newspaper’s editor-in-Chief Zana Kaya, journalists Günay Aksoy, Kemal Bozkurt, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Önder Elaldı, Ender Önder, Sinan Balık, Fırat Yeşilçınar, İnan Kızılkaya, Özgür Paksoy, Zeki Erden, Elif Aydoğmuş, Bilir Kaya, Ersin Çaksu, Mesut Kaynar,Sevdiye Gürbüz, Amine Demirkıran, Bayram Balcı, Burcu Özkaya, Yılmaz Bozkurt, Gülfem Karataş, Gökhan Çetin, Hüseyin Gündüz and Asli Erdogan were detained.

Özgur Gundem, whose print version has a daily circulation of around 7,500, has faced dozens of investigations, fines and the arrest of correspondents since 2014.

It has been repeatedly closed down in the past. More recently, the paper started a campaign on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, called “editors-in-chief on duty” in which guest editors temporarily took charge of the paper in an attempt to defend press freedom and highlight attacks on the paper and its journalists. However, an Istanbul court ordered the arrest of three of the campaigners, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Erol Önderoğlu and Ali Nesin on charges of “making terror propaganda” after they served as guest editors. After more than 10 days in jail, they have been released pending trial.

Following the closure of Özgür Gündem, the authorities violently raided today the house of Ragip Zarakolu, a journalist, writer and editor known for his publishing houses on minority rights in Turkey. The writer was not home but his books about Armenian, Pontus and Assyrian genocides have been seized by the authorities. Houses of journalists Eren Keskin and Filiz Koçali have also been raided by the police for similar purpose.

Turkey has closed more than 130 media outlets and jailed more than 50 journalists since a state of emergency was declared in the wake of last month’s (15 July) failed military coup.

Police Raid on Journalists Zarakolu, Erdogan, Keskin and Koçali

Ragip Zarakolu, Filiz Koçali, Eren Keskin and Asli Erdogan

Following the police raid on Özgür Gündem daily, police have raided the houses of journalists Ragip Zarakolu, Asli Erdogan, Eren Keskin and Filiz Koçali.

Ragıp Zarakolu

Police launched a raid into the apartment of Sinan Zarakolu, the son of publisher, columnist and journalist Ragıp Zarakolu, who was registered at this address.

It has been reported that Ragıp Zarakolu was not at his son’s apartment, and that the police have broken in the apartment and seized his books.

Zarakolu has announced the incident on the social media website Facebook as; “I protest against Özgür Gündem daily being shut down and the barbarous police raid into my son’s apartment”.

The police had also raided the daily’s former Editor-in-Chief Eren Keskin’s house. Filiz Koçali, like Eren Keskin, was not at home at the time of the raid.

Ragıp Zarakolu was born in 1948 on Heybeliada, the second largest of the Prince Islands, in İstanbul. He started publishing with his wife, Ayşe Nur Zarakolu in 1977. He never abandoned his struggle for “popularizing respect for different ideas and cultures in Turkey” despite pressures, his books being seized or destroyed, heavy fines and being sent to prison. Zarakolu serving as the President of Publishers’ Union of Turkey Committee of Free Publishing has worked on Kurdish question and condition of minorities in Turkey.

Zarakolu lastly was arrested together with his son Deniz Zarakolu within the scope of Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) case* in 2011. He remained in prison until April 2012.

After his release, on December 19, 2012 in Brussels, Ragip Zarakolu talked on the situation of press freedom in Turkey at a conference organized by European Journalists’ Federation (EFJ) and Info-Türk Foundation.

Same evening, during a ceremony with the participation of diasporas representatives, Zarakolu was given “Freedom Award” by Info-Türk Foundation. 

After his release in 2012, during a conference on the violation of press freedom in Turkey, 
Ragip Zarakolu with EFJ Chairman Philippe Leruth and responsible for Turkey Mehmet Köksal

See: http://www.info-turk.be/Prix%20Info-Turk%202012.htm

Aslı Erdoğan

Özgür Gündem daily’s columnist and Publishing Consultancy Board member Aslı Erdoğan’s house was raided by police last evening (August 16).

Erdoğan whose house was searched was taken into custody. It is yet to be known (12 p.m.) at which police station Erdoğan is being kept.

Born in Istanbul, she graduated from Robert College in 1983 and the Computer Engineering Department of Boğaziçi University in 1988. She worked at CERN as a particle physicist from 1991 to 1993 and received an MSc in physics from Boğaziçi University as a result of her research there. She began research for a PhD in physics in Rio de Janeiro before returning to Turkey to become a full-time writer in 1996. Aslı Erdoğan was detained on 17 August 2016 during the police raid on pro-Kurdish daily, Özgür Gündem for being a member of the Advisory Board of the newspaper.

Her first story The Final Farewell Note won third prize in the 1990 Yunus Nadi Writing Competition. Her first novel, Kabuk Adam (Crust Man), was published in 1994 and was followed by, Mucizevi Mandarin (Miraculous Mandarin) a series of interconnected short stories in 1996. Her short story Wooden Birds received first prize from Deutsche Welle radio in a 1997 competition and her second novel, Kirmizi Pelerinli Kent (The City in Crimson Cloak), received numerous accolades abroad and has been published in English Language translation.

She was the Turkish representative of International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee from 1998 to 2000. She also wrote a column entitled The Others for the Turkish newspaper Radikal, the articles from which were later collected and published as the book Bir Yolculuk Ne Zaman Biter (When a Journey Ends) and featured in the 2004 edition of M.E.E.T.’s journal.

She is widely traveled and has an interest in anthropology and Native American culture.

From December 2011 to May 2012, at the invitation of the Literaturhaus Zurich and the PWG Foundation, Erdoğan was Zurich’s “writer in residence”.

Eren Keskin

Attorney Keskin is a columnist at the Özgür Gündem and founder of the Legal Aid Bureau Against Sexual Harassment and Rape in Custody.

She served as Co Editor-in-Chief at the Özgür Gündem. She carried out the duties of Human Rights Association (İHD) Deputy Chair and Istanbul Branch Director.

She was granted many awards as a rights defender: Aachen Peace Prize (2004), Theodor Haecker Political Courage and Honesty Prize (2005), and a symbol figure in the fight against impunity on November 23 International Day to End Impunity (2013).

Filiz Koçali

She writes at the Özgür Gündem daily. She was among the candidates for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Aydın MP position in the 25th term.

Koçali was born in İstanbul on January 22, 1958. She graduated from Çamlıca Kız Lisesi (Çamlıca Girls School) and İstanbul Academy of Economics and Commercial Sciences, Press College.

She worked at the magazines of Kadınca, Kim and at bianet. She wrote articles in Söz, Yeniden Özgür Gündem, and Sosyalist Demokrat newspapers. She was a board member at Sosyalist Feminist Kaktüs magazine. She was among the founders of Gazete/Pazartesi magazine, exclusive to women.

She entered political life by joining the student movement in 1976. In order to participate in the rising laborer movement at that time she worked as a laborer at Altın Yıldız and Arıkol factories.

She took place in the human rights movement after the September 12 coup. She was one of those who started sit-in protests of the Saturday Mothers/People against the disappeared in custody.

http://www.info-turk.be
facebook
twitter

linkedin
53, rue de Pavie
1000 BRUXELLES
Tel: (32-2) 215 35 76
Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60

Syrian Gay Refugee Killed in İstanbul

Syrian gay refugee Muhammed Wisam Sankari has been found dead in Yenikapı district of İstanbul. Perpetrators of Sankari who was beheaded are yet to be caught. Sankari who was threatened, kidnapped by a crowded group of men and raped earlier was trying to flee to another country for his life safety.

In the wake of the homicide, Sankari’s housemates Rayan, Diya and Görkem have told Yıldız Tar from KaosGL.org of the difficulties Sankari had to endure, problems of LGBTİ refugees and immigrants in Turkey and their “Who is next” concerns.

“We have complained to Security, they did nothing”

Rayan who knew Sankari for over a year said, “He was very unsafe lately. He wasn’t telling much when we asked what is going on” and told that Sankari was threatened and kidnapped.

Rayan noted that they are having difficulties even walking home in Aksaray where they lives, a couple of times crowded group of men with knives threatened and tried to rape them. According to Rayan, what Sankari went through is as follows:

“We were staying at another house before this place but we had to leave it because we are gay. The neighboring people kept staring at us but we did nothing wrong. Five months ago, a group kidnapped Wisam in Fatih. They took him to a forestry by car, beat and raped him. They would kill him but Sankari managed to throw himself on the road and survived. We filed a complaint to the Security but nothing has come out of it”.

“We could recognize our friend from his trousers”

Görkem is a friend of Sankari and others and explained disappearance of Sankari and how they received his death knell in tears:

“Wisam left the house on July 30 Saturday. We were nervous because of the threats we were receiving. We told him to not go but he said he will go out to the street for about 15-20 minutes. He didn’t come home the whole night. We panicked when Wisam didn’t come the next day.

“Police called us on Sunday night. We went to Yenikapı with Rayan. They cut Wisam violently. It was so violent that two knives were broken inside him. They beheaded him, his upper body was in unrecognizable shape, his internal organs had come out. We recognized him from his trousers”.

“Who is next?”

Diya expressed that after Sankari’s killinn, they live in fear of “Who is next”:

“I am very scared. I feel as everyone is looking at me on the street. I was kidnapped too twice. No one takes care of us. Everybody just speaks. I receive threats on phone. I speak calmly so nothing bad will happen to me. It doesn’t matter whether Syrian or Turkish, if you are gay you are being targeted by everyone. They demand sex from you and stalk you if you don’t want it. I don’t even have an ID, who shall protect me for what? Who is next?” (YY/ÇT/TK)

Demo 15.04. // Stop deportations – There is enough space for everyone! // Alexanderplatz

thumb-Untitled

*Arabic ** English below *** Francais en bas

Stop deportations – There is enough space for everyone!

Aufruf zur Demo am Freitag den 15.04.2016 um 16Uhr am Alexanderplatz gegen die Abschiebungen in die Türkei und für die Aufnahme von Geflüchteten.

Seit Montag werden Flüchtende von Griechenland in die Türkei abgeschoben. In die Türkei, in der gerade munter jegliche Freiheitsrechte eingeschränkt werden und ein Krieg gegen die Kurd*innen läuft. In die Türkei, zu der Amensty International berrichtet, das von dort Menschen zurück nach Syrien geschoben werden. Mitten ins Kriegsgebiet.

Zeitgleich sitzen Zehntausende Flüchtende an der griechisch-mazedonischen Grenze in Idomeni und in den Inhaftierungslagern auf den griechischen Inseln fest. Knapp die Hälfte der Menschen dort sind Kinder, bei denen diese Lebensumstände lebenslange gesundheitliche und psychische Folgen haben können. Viele der Menschen habe enge Familie in anderen europäischen Ländern. Familienzusammenführung funktioniert jedoch nicht. In der Türkei beträgt die durchschnittliche Wartezeit für einen Termin zur Vorsprache für Familienzusammenführung 14 Monate. In Idomeni können Termine nur über Skype gemacht werden. Die Nummer ist ständig blockiert.

Wir fragen uns wo bei diesen Deals und Gesetzgebungen die so viel beschworenen Menschenrechte bleiben. Es scheint das Bewusstsein zu fehlen, dass es Menschen sind wie wir, die dort an den Grenzen misshandelt werden. Wir möchten uns solidarisch zeigen mit den Forderungen der Menschen an den europäischen Außengrenzen: Öffnet die Grenzen! Stoppt die Abschiebungen in die Türkei und in andere Länder!

Kommt zu unserer Demo am Freitag den 15.4. ! Zeigt eure Ablehnung gegen den Deal mit der Türkei ! Macht deutlich, dass hier noch Platz ist für Geflüchtete ! Zeigt euch solidarisch mit den Menschen an den europäischen Außengrenzen !

European borders update, 11.3.2016

By Are you Syrious?, 11.3.2016

#‎LEBANON: At the present, the long term international volunteers in Lebanon are coordinating centrally around a Lebanese NGO called Salam LADC (Lebanese Association for Development and Communication). Salam has strong ties with the local authorities responsible for refugees, the UNHCR, the Lebanese Military (essential permissions for visiting and distributing at settlements) and other local and international NGOs. Independent volunteers are NOT allowed to visit settlements without military permission and contacts with local municipalities. Those who have come privately have run into trouble with the authorities when attempting to privately distribute supplies. Salam’s current international volunteers are long term (+4 weeks) and are helping to build the structure and administrative back end of our volunteer project. At the present, Salam is NOT taking any applications for international volunteers. However, we will be accepting applications for long term volunteers shortly. In the interim, volunteers who wish to come can start fundraising projects in their home countries as Salam can then direct these funds for the direct, wholesale purchase of necessary aid and organised effective distribution. Please follow Salam’s Facebook page, attached below, for regular updates on Salam projects and volunteer updates. Thank you for your continued engagement and support. https://www.facebook.com/salam.ladc/

#‎TURKEY: Turkish officials say that Greece has returned 90 migrants from Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria and Turkey who had crossed into the country from Turkey. The government’s migration agency in ‪#‎Edirne‬, northwest Turkey, said the migrants crossed back into Turkey on Friday through the ‪#‎Ipsala‬ border gate. Greece returned the migrants under an existing agreement with Greece on the readmission to Turkey of migrants who do not qualify for international protection. The migration agency said eight Algerian migrants were placed at a deportation center in Edirne, while 71 Pakistanis and Moroccans were sent to a detention center in ‪#‎Erzurum‬, in eastern Turkey.

#‎GREECE No boats landed in the north ‪#‎Lesvos‬ today and there is no available information on south. ‪#‎Chios‬ has also seen no boats last night. But sea is calm tonight and there are some arrivals already. There are 1,600 refugees in Chios at the moment. Ferry ticket agencies have issued very low numbers of tickets to refugees for the next days, so there are no available tickets to buy until Saturday 19th of March. The Soli Cafe on Chios (www.facebook.com/solicafechios) are urgently asking for support. In contrary to the official organizations present on the island, they strongly disagree to and reject the registration process that separates refugees by nationality and leads to illegalizing and deporting people. They fight for the freedom of movement and a world without borders. The group used to supply to 450 refugees in medium per day but because of the current situation of the border closings, they are now supplying a number of nearly 2,500 refugees on the island, and the number is supposed to grow. Their cost have grown from under 100 € to almost over 500 € per each day. They urgently need financial support to keep supporting the refugees with the needed food. Volunteer kitchen teams at ‪#‎Vial‬ are not allowed in hotspot anymore, army has taken over the catering. Yesterday there were 581 people on the island of ‪#‎Samos‬. “Iokasti’s Kitchen” – Ladies of Samos & international volunteers need more volunteers and funds in order for the project to succeed. They currently provide 1,000 meals a day and from the 17th when the NoBorders kitchen leaves, they will be providing for 2,000 people. Contact them or donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/kingofsamosport. Total of 7,614 refugees are currently on the islands of northern ‪#‎Aegean‬. With the increase of refugees, four hotspots camps will be established in ‪#‎Epirus‬ region near Albanian border: ‪#‎Filippiada‬, ‪#‎Igoumenitsa‬ and two in ‪#‎Ioannina‬. Also, ‪#‎Kastoria‬, ‪#‎Florina‬ and ‪#‎Ptolemaida‬ began work on creating capacity of 5,000 people. A source close to MSF reported to ‘Top Channel’ that it will open three first aid points for refugees on the border with Albania at points ‪#‎QafëBotë‬ / ‪#‎SagiadaMauvromati‬, ‪#‎Kakavia‬ and ‪#‎Krystallopigi‬ / Kapshticë. Sources also by the Greek foreign ministry said that negotiations are continuing at a political level with the governments of neighboring countries, Albania and Bulgaria, to absorb a number of immigrants from 10-15,000 in each country.

10.3.2016, Idomeni, Are You Syrious  Mazaraki camp in Greece, 10.3.2016, by Statis Kokki.

Smugglers operate in ‪#‎Idomeni – they state they are doctors and would cross them for Euro 250. People do disappear without any trace. Another thing to beware of are poisonous snakes. Spring is coming, which means they will start waking up now. In Greece there are 70 species of snakes. Most of them are not venomous (have no harmful poison). 7 (of which 5 are vipers) do have poison and a possible bite should be treated. In case of a bite, you should go to the doctor. If you can document the snake (photos), do it. It will help the doctor. There are some precaution measures you can take and in my experience help a lot avoid unhappy meetings with a snake. 1) Always close your tent when you exit. Always. Also if you are sitting right outside. Snakes are silent and you will not see them enter. 2) If you have shoes outside the tent, turn them around – always (the hole where your feet get in should face the floor). Snakes look for dark places to cuddle. If your shoes are turned around, when you pick them up, anything that went in will fall down (also spiders or scorpions). Give them a good shake. 3) Same thing for bags that you just leave on the floor. Always close them or if forgotten open shake them off.

Another news from Idomeni comes from voluteer group in Idomeni camp that is offering tea (“The Tea Tent”), saying they were not allowed in the camp. Neither were the provisions for refugees. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both tweet that they have been denied access to Greek camps and hotspots for the past two weeks. Meanwhile, those who “wish” to be bussed to new camps are invited to do so. We believe this is an attempt to make the conditions harder than they already are, so that refugees do not have to be forcibly evicted. It remains to see what happens when all those who voluntarily leave, are gone. By allowing for the living conditions in Idomeni camp to be horrendous, Greek government forces refugees to leave the border, give up on attempting to cross, and settle in government-built shelters. A group of 800 refugees left Idomeni at the Greek-Macedonian border today. The border between Greece and FYROM is closed but more than 13,000 refugees remain in Idomeni, hoping that the border will open again. Greek authorities say there are over 42,000 refugees are currently waiting across the country. If You Are In Idomeni: The Greek government is considering how to move refugees from Idomeni and to transfer people to shelters in northern Greece. Greek government officials said that they will not evacuate the Idomeni camp using force. No clear timeline was given for an evacuation. Greek authorities say they plan to convince refugees to voluntarily move to places where they can find more humane living conditions. There are organized shelters in northern Greece, in ‪#‎Diavata‬, approximately 70 km from Idomeni, and ‪#‎Cherso‬ and ‪#‎NeaKavala‬ Greek authorities say more new shelters will be ready in few days in the area. Government will provide buses to transfer refugees. Authorities say about 800 people have agreed so far to leave the camp, but more arrive daily. If you are in the ‪#‎Piraeus‬ port: Greek authorities already transferred up to 900 people from Piraeus to ‪#‎Konitsa‬, in Northwestern Greece, and in temporary shelters in Central Greece. Transfers will continue in the next days. Authorities announced that the capacity of ‪#‎Eleonas‬ camp will be increased to 2,000 places from the current 700. A total of 3,000 refugees are hosted inside the port of Piraeus and two more ships have carried more than 880 on Friday. 162 refugees were moved from Piraeus port to the northern Greek town of Konitsa this morning. More than 10,000 refugees are hosted in shelters in ‪#‎Athens‬. Police are not allowing refugees to sleep in #Victoriasquare, informing them that there are shelters in Athens where they can be transferred. AYS container is being unloaded on Saturday at 12:00, helping hands are welcomed.

Ministry of Interior has published information on the relocation program for refugees from Greece to another EU country. This information refers to the people who entered Greece after the Sep 16th 2015, and who are citizens of Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Yemen, Bahrain, Swaziland, or a stateless person who used to live for many years in these countries. According to the information provided in the document, it means that: First – a person must file an asylum application in Greece and have his/her fingerprints taken. Greece will request another EU country to take over the examination of a case. As soon as the Ministry is informed by the other country that a person applying for relocation program and his/her family members (e.g. wife and children) are accepted, the Ministry is going to ensure that they are transported there safely and free of charge within two months. As soon as a person arrives to the other country, this country will take over the examination of the asylum application and will attend to cover asylum seeker’s basic material needs. People cannot choose the EU country in which he/she will be relocated, however factors such as having relatives, having lived, worked or studied in a European Union country as well as the condition of one’s health are taken into account. A person must hand over any documents he/she has for identity verification, as well as any documents provided to you by the Greek Police. More info is available at: http://asylo.gov.gr/en/?page_id=824. This info is written in English, as well as Arabic, Kurmanji, Greek, Sorani and Tigrinya. Some other useful links for refugees, which include more information on the relocation program, but also on family reunification, tracing lost people, free legal help, free medical care and others, can be found at the following AYS page: https://www.facebook.com/areyousyrious/posts/593580880790799?hc_location=ufi. If you are a refugee or a volunteer looking to inform a refugee-fellow, feel free to use these links as a credible and current source of information.

#BULGARIA: Bulgarian border police have thwarted attempts of a total of 66 refugees to cross the country’s border with Turkey over the past 24 hours, the Ministry of the Interior announced in a statement on Friday. The refugees, who carried no identity documents with them, all claimed to be Iraqi citizens. In another case, 17 refugees, all of them claiming to be Syrian citizens, were discovered on Thursday in the trailer of a Romanian-registered truck at #Lesovo border crossing. Police used sensors detecting elevated carbon dioxide levels inside the trailer to find the people. Bulgaria will send humanitarian assistance to the migrants and refugees stuck at Greece’s border with Macedonia in adverse weather conditions, the government in Sofia announced on Friday. The assistance will comprise tents, beds, blankets and heating materials as specified by the Greek authorities in a letter sent to Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry, the cabinet said in a statement. Heavy rains and poor living conditions at the camp in Idomeni require urgent measures to avert a humanitarian crisis, the Bulgarian government said.

#MACEDONIA: Around 1,000 refugees are currently waiting in the #Tabanovce camp. Additional shelter is created by MSF in Tabanovce, which consists of 4 tents. Camp management placed most vulnerable in these new containers. Still, the horrific situation of people living in mud and hunger is not resolved, as there are many refugees who remained by the border line. The only difference is now that they stay on their free will, as most refugees are afraid to come inside the camp fearing being pushed back. If you are a refugee stuck in Macedonia wanting to know what your options are, please talk to IOM officers and Macedonian Young Lawyers Association, both of whom provide free legal help in Macedonia and have teams in the Tabanovce camp. A group of 13 refugees remained forgotten at the camp in #Gevgelija for 4 days now with dry food. As of today, volunteers will continue to serve them hot meal.

tabanovce  Tabanovce (Mac-Ser border), 11.3.2016, by Are you Syrious?

#SERBIA: There are currently around 2,000 refugees in Serbia. Among those, 800 are in #Sid, 600 in #Presevo, 300-400 in asylum-seekers’ camps, 140 at #Krnjaci, 80 at #BanjiKoviljaci, and 100-200 in #Bogovadja, #Sjenica and #Tutin. These numbers exclude the “invisible refugees,” who are not registered at any of the official sites. There are always around 300-400 of these unregistered refugees. Refugees still continue to cross from Bulgaria to #Dimitrovgrad, 50-80 refugees per day. Gordan Paunovic, an Info Park/Fond B92 manager, has shared his scepticism about the current measures succeeding in what their claimed purpose, namely, the closure of Balkan route, and suggested that the closure is only apparent. According to Info Park findings, and from what Dimitrovgrad numbers suggest, we are witnessing an uninterrupted flow of refugees from Bulgarian border. The difference is, however, that these refugees are now being smuggled rather than entering freely. As the InfoPark Dimitrovgrad team on Bulgarian border reports, there are practically no activities in the registration center for the last 10 days, except for an occasional refugee or a group who lost their smuggling logistics. This brings us to the conclusion that what the new measures of the EU have brought is a mere flourishing of smuggling business and a complete transfer of a legal and relatively safe flow of people into illegal channels. Indeed, the numbers of 50-80 refugees a day completely coincide with the official statistics in the last weeks in Dimitrovgrad before the border’s closure. The new EU measures have only made smugglers happy. Their profits have sky-rocketed. A drive between #Sofia and #Belgrade is 1000 Euros per head, while within Serbia, smugglers charge 300 Euros per person from Bulgarian border to Belgrade. Lots of NGO and humanitarian teams are leaving Dimitrovgrad or cutting their staff down, as refugees are more keen on going directly to Belgrade. Indeed, Belgrade is boiling. There are new faces every day, people are coming and leaving. This is throwing us back to the situation from the Summer 2015, when Belgrade acted as a transit knot, where everyone was seeking for a way to leave. While it gets pretty obvious that Dimitrovgrad, Presevo and Sid are fading out, at least on the flow, Belgrade in the last days has seen pretty constant numbers of average 500-600 people present in the parks. Where do refugees go from there, when the western border is closed? Some opt to seek for an asylum in Serbia, buy some time, have a bit of rest and peace in the open camps in Krnjaca, Tutin, Sjenica and Banja Koviljaca, and plan their future. Some, like many Afghanis or Pakistanis arriving to Belgrade, are not interested at all in asylum in Serbia, do not waste time in the long registration queues and just seek for smugglers to take them across the border. Smugglers are everywhere around parks, offering their services. The smuggling route through Hungary is up and running. Some refugees get caught, imprisoned and sent back, but some makes it to the EU, in a full secrecy of illegal migration, thus becoming invisible persons that will never become EU citizens. The recent arrest of three Serbian nationals, who were smuggling 15 Pakistani refugees across the border, attests further to the proliferation of the smuggling business along the Balkan route.

#CROATIA: There are 311 refugees currently located at #Slavonskibrod camp. Double that number, however, has gathered today in #Zagreb at the protest against the Balkan route border closures. The protest was organized by Are You Syrious and Centre for Peace Studies

#SLOVENIA: From the police report released today until 6 AM, there are currently 123 refugees in accomodation centers: #Šentilj camp – 2; #Vrhnika – 52, Center for foreigners #Postojna – 69). Reception centers are empty. No-one has entered nor left the country today.

#AUSTRIA: The Austrian ‘Volksanwaltschaft’ is a public body entitled to investigate wrongdoings within public administration, as well as assists citizens if they feel they have been treated unfairly by an Austrian authority. Volksanwaltschaft recently published a report harshly criticising police authorities for hiring non-trained translators in the registration center in #Spielfeld. The translator’s job is, among others, to determine a person’s origin through interviews. These interviews often lasted for a mere couple of minutes. Nevertheless, based on these translators’ and the police officers’ hasty decisions, more than 300 people have been pushed back from Spielfeld to Slovenia and Croatia. Above all, the Volksanwaltschaft deplored the Ministry of Interior ‘s choice to hire translators via the private security company G4S, which has alleged links to senior officials in the ruling conservative party ÖVP, showing that their choice was under the strands of nepotism and corruption, rather than fair and just employment of capable translators. Austria volunteers of Border Crossing Spielfeld and legal advisors are offering legal aid to those pushed back to Slovenia who want to seek legal remedy against the Austrian police’s decision. Push-backs are illegal once a person expressed the intention to seek asylum in Austria. Please contact border.crossing.spielfeld@gmail.com for further information.

#GERMANY: A 17-year-old refugee from Egypt leapt from a train outside #Munich on Friday morning after police found him carrying a deportation order. The tragic death came about when police moved through the train checking passengers’ identity documents, Bayerischer Rundfunk reports. Officers found the young Egyptian hiding under a bench in an empty compartment. When they asked him to show his identity papers, he provided documents that he had been given in Austria. While the one document recognized the teenager’s status as a refugee in Austria, the other ordered his deportation to Italy. The officers ordered the young man to leave the compartment and wait in the corridor. But according to eyewitnesses, he used the opportunity to escape into another compartment where he opened the window and jumped out. The train was still travelling at a high speed through a town called Haar. The boy landed on an adjacent set of tracks and was killed by the impact. Police in Munich said the teenager had recently been caught by officers illegally entering Germany and had been sent back to Austria at the time. This means that Germany broke its promise of granting a special protection to unaccompanied minors, which ensures that minors will not be pushed-back out of Germany.

In 2015 a lot less refugees came to Germany than reported. While interior minister spoke of more than one million new arrivals, government now said, that only around 600.000 refugees arrived. 627.000 lived in Germany in the end of 2014, so the total number was around 1.250.000 refugees. In the end of 2015 950.000 people in Germany had an asylum or refugee status. Additionally, to that around 300.000 were not able to ask for asylum by now but have been registered as refugees.

#DENMARK: Denmark is punishing its citizens for taking on the task that State has failed in accomplishing. A Danish children’s rights activist, Lisbeth Zornig Andersen, was Friday fined €3,000 for transporting a Syrian refugee family in her private car. Her husband was fined the same amount for taking the family into his home for coffee and biscuits, and then driving them to the railway station, where he bought them tickets to Sweden. “This was a political trail, using me and my husband to send a strong message: don’t try to help refugees,” Zornig said after the verdict. “I am very angry because the only thing we did was the decent thing, the same that hundreds of others did. They are criminalising decency.” Zornig has decided to appeal against the verdict. The trial is one of the first of hundreds of Danes who responded in early September to the thousands of refugees who walked from Germany into Denmark, many of them on their way to Sweden where the asylum regime at the time was more relaxed. Under Denmark’s Aliens Act, it is a crime to transport people who do not have residence permits. Police say 279 people have been charged in the period from September 2015 to February 2016. In January, a man was fined DKr5,000 (£517) for driving an Afghan family from the German border in September. On Thursday, a 70-year-old pensioner was fined DKr12,500 for a similar offense. Zorning has become a voice for ordinary people who saw footage of refugees on the news in early September and wanted to help, according to Line Søgaard, a spokesperson for refugee support group “Welcome to Denmark.“

#FRANCE: Tensions have been mounting in the #Calais Jungle today, with migrants and volunteers confronting riot police as authorities pushed ahead with destroying the southern part of the camp. Several shelters in the Calais Jungle, including a makeshift mosque, have been set on fire as migrants are refusing to leave the shanty town build barricades, in a bid to block authorities from dismantling the camp. The huge blaze started at around 4.30pm local time, following up on a series of fires that were started yesterday. One witness claims the fires were started by French riot police “to accelerate the destruction of the Jungle”. Several shelters were also set on fire by groups refusing to leave the camp, as refugees aimed at forming a fire barricades to avoid eviction. French authorities are encouraging migrants to move into accommodation kitted out with heating and showers provided by the government. However, many migrants have been reluctant to move into the shipping containers because they fear it will ruin their chances of reaching the UK. Nevertheless, the demolition of part of a vast and infamous refugee camp in Calais is forcing people into new makeshift settlements in the surrounding area. Aid workers said that as many as six new camps had sprung up since authorities started dismantling the southern part of ‘the Jungle’ nearly two weeks ago. These new camps, which residents also referred to as ‘jungles’, house anywhere from 15 to 150 people and are located near service stations and truck stops.

#EU: The first ever request to the European Court of Human Rights for an interim measure has been sent by Afghan asylum applicants. These applicants are fleeing Afghanistan with their children, and currently living in Idomeni in flooded tents, appalling conditions, and being daily refouled at the border.
The lawsuit is filed against Greece, but also against Macedonia, Serbia, Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia, because of their joint decision for discriminatory closure of borders and massive discriminatory refoulment on grounds of international protection seekers’ nationality.

English information about RELOCATION by w2eu (Arabic translation to be followed.): http://w2eu.info/greece.en/articles/greece-legal.en.html

Cover photo by Reuters.

Solidarität mit dem kurdischen Freiheitskampf!

kurdische Freiheitsbewegung

Kurdische Freiheitsbewegung

english below

Solidarität mit dem kurdischen Freiheitskampf!

Die kurdische Freiheitsbewegung hat seit 2013 einen ernsthaften Friedensdialog mit dem türkischen Staat begonnen. Direkte Gespräche zwischen Abdullah Öcalan und hohen türkischen Staatsvertreter_innen, einseitige Waffenstillstände der Guerilla, der Aufbau basisdemokratischer Selbstverwaltungsstrukturen in der Osttürkei und die parlamentarische Demokratieoffensive der HDP waren die wichtigsten Maßnahmen für eine Lösung der Demokratiedefizite der Türkei. Seit einem halben Jahr reagiert der türkische Staat darauf ganz offen mit Krieg. Seitdem wurden tausende politische Aktivist_innen verhaftet, die Pressefreiheit massiv eingeschränkt, über 50 Ausgangssperren in kurdischen Städten verhängt und ca. 300 Zivilist_innen von türkischen „Sicherheitskräften“ ermordet.

EU paktiert mit der Türkei für Krieg, Ausbeutung und Kontrolle auf Kosten der Geflüchteten

Turgay Ulu Statement

Turgay Ulu

Oktober 2015: Wenige Tage vor den kritischen Wahlen in der Türkei hatte sich die Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel mit dem türkischen Ministerpräsidenten Erdoğan getroffen. Im Hinblick auf den innerstaatlichen Konflikt, durch den die politische Landschaft des Landes geprägt ist, war der Zeitpunkt des Treffens eine eklatante Unterstützung der Regierung von Erdoğan für die bevorstehenden Wahlen. Während dieser Zeit wurde zwischen der EU und der Türkei ein Abkommen abgeschlossen, in dessen Kern es darum geht, Geflüchteten den Zuzug in die EU durch die Türkei zu verwehren und die Rückführung der Geflüchteten über die Türkei zu vereinbaren.Im Gegenzug dazu wurde zum einen die Beschleunigung der Verhandlungen hinsichtlich des EU-Beitritts der Türkei und zum anderen ein visumfreies Reisen für türkische Staatsbürger*innen innerhalb der EU zugesagt. Zudem wurde der Forderung der Türkei nach einer Finanzhilfe in Höhe von 3 Milliarden Euro zugestimmt, um Geflüchteten den Eintritt in die EU zu verweigern.

Während Merkel und Erdoğan sich am Verhandlungstisch trafen, wurden weiter Leichen von Geflüchteten an die Ufer europäischer Grenzen geschwemmt und für die dreckige Verhandlungsführung beider Parteien instrumentalisiert. Kurze Zeit nach den Verhandlungen wurden tausende Geflüchtete an den türkischen Grenzen festgenommen und in die Rückführungszentren verfrachtet. Nichtsdestotrotz waren diese Maßnahmen hinsichtlich schärferer Grenzkontrollen nicht in der Lage, die Geflüchteten davon abzuhalten, die Grenzen zu überwinden. Im Jahr 2015 nahm die Zahl der Refugees, die versuchten, über die Türkei nach Europa zu gelangen, verglichen zum Jahr davor um 400% zu. Dieser immense Anstieg bedeutet gleichzeitig, dass die Anzahl der Todesfälle während den Grenzüberschreitungen auf den Fluchtrouten einen erheblichen Zuwachs erfuhr.Im Vorfeld der Verhandlungsgespräche zwischen der EU und der Türkei war auch die von den Medien propagierte Empörung, die die angespülte Babyleiche von Aylan Kurdi ausgelöst hatte, im Handumdrehen verstummt. Jedoch kann nicht die Rede davon sein, dass es nach den Verhandlungen zur Verringerung von an die europäischen Ufer angeschwemmten Babyleichen gekommen sei. Dies wird allerdings von den bürgerlichen Medien ausgeblendet.Vor allem von deutscher Regierungsseite regnete es Lob für die Türkei für ihre Herangehensweise an Geflüchtete: Die Tatsache, dass Millionen von Flüchtlingen innerhalb der türkischen Grenzen warten gelassen werden, wurde als Beispiel für große Aufopferungsbereitschaft interpretiert. Aber warum nehmen denn die Refugees den Tod in Kauf, um nach Europa zu gelangen, anstatt in der Türkei zu bleiben, die als Beispiel für Gastfreundschaft präsentiert wird?In der Türkei werden aus Syrien und anderen Ländern emigrierte minderjährige Geflüchtete unter sklavenähnlichen Bedingungen zur Arbeit gehalten, wo sie in ungesunden und unbelüfteten Kellergeschossen 12 Stunden am Tag zur Arbeit gezwungen werden. Diese Flüchtlingskinder arbeiten sechs Tage in der Woche, für einen wöchentlichen Lohn von 25$. Dabei passiert es nicht selten, dass sie ihren Lohn nicht nur ausgezahlt bekommen sondern, im Gegenteil, sogar misshandelt werden.

Wir wollen die tragischen Lebensgeschichten der Leute, die wir in Deutschland kennengelernt haben, in die Öffentlichkeit bringen. Geflüchtete, denen nichts anderes übrig geblieben ist, als auf den Straßen zu betteln, werden Opfer von rassistischen Übergriffen. Sie protestieren gegen die menschenunwürdigen Bedingungen, unter denen sie in der Türkei gehalten werden, und gegen die nun vorgesehenen Abschiebungen zurück nach Syrien und Afghanistan. Als es in einem, durch EU-Fonds finanziertem, Rückführungszentrum, nahe der Stadt Erzurum, zu Protesten von Geflüchteten kam, wurde mit staatlichen Repressivkräften gegen die Proteste vorgegangen. Über das Schicksal der dortigen Geflüchteten wurde keine Auskunft nach außen hin gegeben und des Weiteren dürfen sie keinen Anwalt konsultieren. Selbst die nächsten Verwandten der dort befindlichen Geflüchteten dürfen sie nicht besuchen. Die gleiche Belagerungs- und Isolierungspolitik, die in Cizre und Silopi durchgeführt wird, kommt auch hier zur Geltung.

Aufgrund der Flüchtlingsströme kam es in der Türkei auch zu einer zynischen „Instrumentalisierung der Geflüchteten zum Zwecke des Profits”. Geflüchteten, die den Tod in Kauf nehmend ihre Heimat verlassen haben, werden frisierte Rettungswesten verkauft. Indem man ihnen mit Leichtigkeit das Geld aus der Tasche zieht, scheiden sie aus dem Leben. Das kapitalistische System, das seine Nahrung in Kriegen und ethischen Auseinandersetzungen findet, hat großes Interesse daran, dass das Sterben außerhalb seiner Grenzen weitergeht. Gegen die Fluchtrealität, die Ausdruck einer Fortsetzung der ewig andauernden kriegerischen Ausbeutung ist, werden tägliche neue Grenzen gewoben und gesetzliche Einschränkungen durchgesetzt.

In Deutschland wurden in den ersten Wochen des Flüchtlingsstroms wie „Wilkommen in der Demokratie” verwendet. Jedoch fiel diese Maske schnell und die dahinter verborgene Wahrheit kam ans Licht. Die Erfolge, die in den vergangenen Jahren durch einen revolutionären Flüchtlingswiderstand errungen wurden, sind nach und nach wieder verloren gegangen. Beispielsweise wurde das Gesetz, das Flüchtlingen verbietet, den für sie vorgeschriebenen Bezirk zu verlassen, sowie die Vergabe von Essenspaketen und das Couponsystem wieder eingeführt.

Momentan sieht das System ein zweigleisiges Verfahren vor. Zum Einen versucht es, die Geflüchteten schnell in ein Arbeitsverhältnis zu bringen, um diese als Quelle für einen wirtschaftlichen Aufschwung zu instrumentalisieren. Dem Vorsitzenden des deutschen Wirtschaftsforschungsinstituts, Marcel Fratzscher, zufolge, spielen die Geflüchteten, die schnell in den Arbeitssektor eingeflochten werden, für einen Wirtschaftsaufschwung eine entscheidende Rolle. Ähnlich wie zu Zeiten des wirtschaftlichen Booms der 60er Jahre, der durch die zugewanderten „Gastarbeiter“ bewerkstelligt werden konnte, soll nun die Arbeitskraft der Geflüchteten für eigene lukrative Interessen instrumentalisiert werden. Aus diesem Grund werden derzeit Gesetze vorbereitet, die die Beschäftigung von Geflüchteten unterhalb des Mindestlohns ermöglichen sollen.

Zum Anderen plant das System, „nutzlose” Geflüchtete schnellstmöglich wieder über die Grenzen zurückzuschieben. Zu diesem Zweck werden immer mehr sogenannte sichere Herkunftsländer definiert und weitere Gesetze dahingehend verabschiedet. Das kapitalistisch-imperialistische System ist darin bestrebt, Afrika und dem Nahen Osten, unter dem Deckmantel der Argumente von „Flüchtlingskrise“ und „Terror”, ihren eigenen Vorstellungen entsprechend zu gestalten.

Gleichzeitig wird mit diesen Argumenten „der Flüchtlingskrise und des Terrors” der Weg für rassistischen Aufschwung geebnet. „Demokratische Denkmäler” wie das Schengen-System, mit denen sich die EU brüstet, sind in einen funktionsunfähigem Zustand. In manchen Bundesländern werden Broschüren gedruckt, die den Geflüchteten den richtigen Gebrauch einer Toilette, den Umgang mit Frauen, den richtigen Konsum von Zigaretten und Essen beibringen soll. Diese Maßnahmen lassen die Geflüchtete wie „zu zivilisierende primitive Geschöpfe” erscheinen. In Holland werden Sicherheitsmaßnahmen ergriffen, wenn Geflüchtete an Kindergärten vorbei gehen. In Deutschland kommt es immer häufiger zu physischen und sogar bewaffneten Übergriffen gegenüber Geflüchteten und nicht selten werden ihre Unterkünfte in Brand gesteckt.

Es ist bekannt, dass der heutige Terror ein Produkt der antikommunistischen Projekte des westlichen, kapitalistischen Systems ist. Die türkische Regierung, die von Deutschland Waffen im großen Stil kauft, besteht ebenfalls aus Personen, die in antikommunistischen Vereinigungen groß geworden sind. Die europäischen Länder diskutieren darüber, ob ein Land wie die Türkei, das von Kriegszuständen geprägt ist, als sicheres Herkunftsland statuiert werden kann. Die im Schatten der Verhandlungen über die „Flüchtlingskrise“ stattfindenden Ermordungen von Kindern, Frauen und Alten und die Verhaftung von Journalist*innen und Parlamentarier*innen werden stillschweigend hingenommen. Der offensichtliche Staatsterror, der in der Türkei, als einer der Unterstützer des IS passiert, wird vom Westen aufgrund eigener lukrativer Kalküle mutwillig übersehen.

Nicht nur die Staaten sind in einer passiven Lage, auch die oppositionellen Bewegungen in Europa zeigen nicht genügend Reaktion gegen den Krieg und die Ermordungen. Des Weiteren zeigen sie kein Interesse an den kurdischen Befreiungsbewegungen, in die von Volk und Revolutionär*innen geführten Pariser Kommune, den Madrider und Hamburger Barrikaden oder in die vietnamesische Verteidigung oder in andere Widerstandsbewegungen auf diesem Niveau.

Mit unseren Straßenbewegungen, Belagerungen und anderen Formen von kollektiven Aktionen, die wir – die Geflüchtetenbewegung – in Deutschland umgesetzt haben, haben wir versucht zu zeigen, dass man auch von unten heraus ein alternatives Leben flechten kann.

Sogar der berühmte Philosoph Zizek, der sich selbst als Marxist definiert, schreibt Aufsätze, in den er proklamiert, dass Europa, gegenüber den Flüchtlingen, Grenzen und Kontrollen errichten muss.

Die Flüchtlingsfrage muss in Verbindung mit der Problematik der Vereinigung der Arbeiter*innenklasse in die Hand genommen werden. Gegen kapitalistische Ausbeutung und Krieg muss eine, von Basis bis zu den Kommunen gerichtete, alternative Organisierung ins Leben gerufen werden. Die Erfahrungen eines freien Lebens derjenigen, die versuchen sich hinter den Barrikaden zusammenzuschließen, müssen in die Ansichten der europäischen Oppositionsbewegung aufgenommen werden. Hoch lebe der Kampf um Humanität und Vereinigung!

von Turgay Ulu

European bordezones update

Important:

#‎WeatherAegean: United Rescue issues an IMPORTANT warning for the Aegean Sea: A huge storm is expected Saturday the 16th of January and Sunday the 17th of January which will be a thunderstorm on some of the islands accompanied by high waves. Also, snow is expected to fall on some of the islands in the Aegean Sea with a significant drop in temperatures. Dear refugee friends, please cancel all crossings.

تحذير هام :
عاصفة قوية محملة بالأمطار و الثلوج ستضرب المناطق و الجزر المطلة على بحر إيجه . مما سيسبب ارتفاع عالي بمستوى أمواج البحر و ذلك في تاريخ السادس عشر و السابع عشر من شهر كانون الثاني و الذي يصادف أيام السبت و الأحد الرجاء من الاخوة المهاجرين اخذ الحيطة و الحذر و عدم تعريض انفسهم و اطفالهم لخطر الغرق و الموت
أخي المهاجر سلامتك و سلامة اطفالك أولا

A larger update on the EU borderzones by the activists from Are You Syrious?

17.1.2016 Balkan route and some Northern EU countries

AYS DAILY NEWS DIGEST 16/1/2016 /// STOP THE SIEGE IN DEIR EZZOR /// HUGE STORM EXPECTED IN THE AEGEAN SEA CONTINUES ON SUNDAY /// THREE ARRESTED VOLUNTEERS IN GREECE RELEASED /// TURKISH COASTGUARD CUTS FUEL PIPES ON REFUGEE BOAT LEAVING IN STRANDED IN AEGEAN /// FIVE DEAD BODIES; LIKELY REFUGEES; FOUND NEAR SAMOS /// SNOWSTORMS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 72 HOURS IN SERBIA, REFUGEES ARE ADVISED NOT TO TRAVEL BY FOOT DURING THAT TIME /// QUESTIONABLE DETENTION METHODS FOR MIGRANTS AND INADEQUATE CONDITIONS IN THE DETENTION CENTRE IN SLOVENIA /// ALL OCCUPIED DWELLING CLEARED FROM THE JUNGE AREA INTENDED FOR BULLDOZING /// THE FIRST GROUP OF ASSYLUM SEEKERS TO BE RELOCATED TO THE NETHERLANDS ON FRIDAY ///

Torture and other Abuses: Turkey, the War in Syria, and the Role of Germany

“Turkish political prisoner and torture victim, in Germany now, faces life in prison if he returns to Turkey, but Germany considers him a terrorist not entitled to asylum based on a Turkish conviction related to torture — torture that bars Germany from deporting him.

Turgay Ulu Statement

Turgay Ulu

On the topic of torture the nation of Turkey could teach some gruesome techniques to ISIS, the terrorist movement executing a savage reign across Syria and beyond (reportedly with Turkish government support).

That reality of brutality in Turkey – another problematic American ally – is a fact known all too well by Turgay Ulu, a Turkish journalist who endured a 15-year imprisonment in Turkey, where he was tortured. During Ulu’s long imprisonment, Turkish authorities justified his conviction on their claim that they had evidence against him –- evidence authorities obtained from two other victims of torture.

“I was tortured with electroshocks,” Ulu said during an interview earlier this year in Berlin, Germany where he is a leading figure in a movement for refugee rights. Ulu’s long imprisonment in Turkey led many, including Amnesty International, to consider him a political prisoner. Ulu was released from a Turkish prison in 2011 and he immediately fled to Europe.”

read the whole article here:

http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/12/01/torture-and-other-abuses-makes-turkey-american-as-apple-pie/

Next Page »