This photo shows a Syrian refugee on Chios island in Greece and his child, expressing despair at the perspective of the European Union-Turkish anti-refugee deal of being sent back to dangerous Turkey.
Refugees from Syria and other countries have known for a long time that their lives are not safe in Turkey. Many Turkish citizens have found out that their lives are not safe under the present Turkish government. The United States government has decided that Turkey is unsafe for United States citizens.
Now, after all European Union politicians’ talk about Erdogan’s Turkey supposedly being ‘safe’ for refugees, authorities in EU member state Greece have decided more realistically.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Syrian does not have to return to Turkey: not safe enough
The Appeals Court of the Greek asylum service has stopped the expulsion of a Syrian refugee to Turkey. The man had appealed against the rejection of his application for asylum. The tribunal ruled today that Turkey for him “is not a safe country.”
The ruling by the three-member appeals tribunal could potentially have major implications. This applies both to the bureaucratic processing of Syrian asylum applications and to the deal which the EU concluded with Turkey on the return of Syrian refugees.
It is unknown to who this refugees is, and why it would be unsafe for him in Turkey. The man in any case may remain in Greece until his application has been dealt with finally. That may take months.
The Guardian claims to have seen documents of the committee. They conclude, according to the newspaper: “The committee judges that the temporary protection that Turkey can offer to the applicant, being a Syrian citizen, does not give him the rights he might have under the Geneva Convention.”
According to The Guardian, the committee literally quoted several EU directives in support of its judgment.
This refugee was one of the first Syrians who were put on a list to be returned to Turkey in accordance with the agreement between the EU and Ankara. So far 441 people according to that deal have been put by Greece on boats to Turkey. But none of them were Syrians.
Today it was announced that of the 174 Syrians on Lesbos who had appealed against their deportation in a hundred cases they have been granted the appeal. These refugees have been forwarded to the Greek mainland. Earlier, the Greek government declared it would not return all Syrians, especially those of vulnerable groups such as children or people with disabilities.
On Wednesday evening Greek police used tear gas and stun grenades against refugees protesting the intolerable conditions prevailing in the makeshift refugee camp near Idomeni. Many women and children were victims of the brutal onslaught: here.