‘Turkey unsafe for refugees’, Greek authorities decide


Syrian refugee on Chios island in Greece and his child, AFP photo

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

Today, 19:42

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.

Rights

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.

Vulnerable groups

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.

Facebook censorship of Turkish-Dutch politician


Keklik Yücel, ANP photo

In Turkey, dictatorial president Erdogan tries to stop being criticized, by, eg, censoring and jailing journalists.

In Germany, the government of Chancellor Merkel tries to stop criticism of their NATO and anti-refugee deal ally Erdogan by giving the green light for persecution of comedian Böhmermann who had written a satirical poem on Erdogan.

Today, NOS TV in the Netherlands reports that Facebook has deleted the account of Turkish Dutch member of parliament Keklik Yücel.

Ms Yücel is a critic of Erdogan. Even though the leaders of her party, the PvdA party, officially ‘social democratic’ junior partners in a right-wing government, support the anti-refugee deal between the European Union and Erdogan. Many rank and file PvdA members oppose that deal.

Now, it seems that one of Erdogan’s attack dogs has moaned and informed about Ms Yücel to Facebook. And that Facebook has gone along with that attack dog by deleting Ms Yücel’s page. This is not by any means the first example of Facebook censorship.

UPDATE: after protests Facebook has restored Ms Yücel’s account. They refused to say why they had deleted it; but people suspect it was because of an item about (lack of) free speech in Turkey.

Turkish regime kills Syrian refugees again


This video says about itself:

Turkey: Syrians Shot, Beaten, and Killed at Border

9 May 2016

Turkish border guards are shooting and beating Syrian asylum seekers … resulting in deaths and serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. The Turkish authorities should end their pushbacks of Syrian asylum seekers at the border and investigate all use of excessive force by border guards, including all cases of killing and injuring Syrians trying to cross.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Turkish border guards shoot Syrian refugees dead’

Today, 10:53

Turkish border guards shoot at refugees from Syria to prevent them from entering Turkey. Human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports this. Five people were killed and fourteen wounded. Refugees are also said to be beaten.

HRW investigated seven incidents, dating back to March and April. The organization spoke with victims, witnesses and Syrians from the border area with Turkey. Three refugees – a man, a woman and a boy of 15 – and a smuggler were shot, another smuggler was beaten to death. Eight refugees got shot wounds, including three children aged 3, 5 and 9 years. Six refugees were severely mistreated.

Bodies

Eyewitnesses have claimed that border guards also shot at people who wanted to take away the bodies from the border wall. This was recorded. Six of the seven incidents were at the border crossing Khurbat al-Juz Güveççi, the seventh took place in the Syrian border town of al-Duriya. The refugees had not long before fled from Aleppo and surrounding area.

The organization calls on Turkey to immediately put an end to the shooting of refugees and to investigate the incidents. Again HRW calls on the government to open the border to people fleeing the violence in Syria.

HRW says on May 4 to have sent a letter to the Turkish Minister of the Interior. There is still no response known from the Ministry.

Previously the British newspaper The Independent reported that eight Syrian refugees were shot dead at the border when they tried to reach Turkey.

Sent back

Human Rights Watch also spoke with 28 Syrian refugees who were intercepted by Turkish border guards when they tried crossing the border with the help of smugglers. They were detained and interrogated for a day and then sent back to Syria. That happened with dozens and sometimes hundreds at a time, the refugees told. Similar reports came in April from Amnesty International and NOS correspondent Lucas Waagmeester.

Turkey’s Erdogan tries censoring Swedish documentary on Assyrian genocide


This video says about itself:

16 December 2010

The Assyrian Genocide (also known as Sayfo or Seyfo) refers to the mass slaughter of the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac population of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The Assyrian population of northern Mesopotamia (the Tur Abdin, Hakkari, Van, Siirt regions of present-day southeastern Turkey and the Urmia region of northwestern Iran) was forcibly relocated and massacred by Ottoman (Turkish) forces between 1914 and 1920. Estimates on the overall death toll have varied. Contemporary reports placed the figure at 270,000, although recent estimates have revised that figure to as many as 500–750,000.

These two videos are the sequels.

From The Local in Sweden:

24 April 2016 15:25 GMT+02:00

The Turkish embassy in Stockholm tried to bring pressure to bear over a TV4 documentary, according to the station’s programme director, Viveka Hansson.

Hansson, in a statement on the TV4 website, said that she had been sent an e-mail by Arif Gulen, the press officer at the Turkish embassy, asking her to “reconsider the decision” to broadcast a documentary tonight about the slaughter by the Ottoman Empire of Christian Assyrians that occurred during the First World War.

Turkey has long rejected claims that the killing of some 275,000 Assyrians should be classified as a genocide. The mass killing, called Seyfo by Assyrians, is designated as a genocide by the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Hansson dismissed the request out of hand.

“We can never accept this. We will protest against any attempt to exert pressure that threatens freedom of expression,” Hansson said.

See also here.

Turkish journalists jailed for Hebdo cover: here.

Turkish regime’s crackdown on journalism continues


This satiric music video says about itself:

German TV mocks Turkish dictator: Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan – English subtitles

29 March 2016

He’s living in grand style
Big boss from Bosporus
A showy palace with a thousand rooms, built without permit in a nature preserve
Press freedom gives him a swollen neck
That’s why he needs all those scarves
When a journalist writes a piece
That Erdogan doesn’t like
He quickly ends up in jail
Newspaper offices closed down
He doesn’t think twice
With tear gas and water cannons he is riding through the night
Be nice to him
Since he’s holding all the cards
Erdo-how, Erdo-where, Erdogan
The time is ripe
For his Great Ottoman Empire
Erdo-how, Erdo-where, Erdogan
Equal rights for women
Beaten up equally

Istanbul police has dispersed an International Women’s Day demonstration by force
If the election results are off
He’ll shake them into place
He loathes the Kurds
And much rather bombs them
Than his brothers in faith over at ISIS
Hand him your money
He’ll build you a refugee tent
Erdo-how, Erdo-where, Erdogan
His country is ripe
For EU membership
He doesn’t care for democracy
Erdogan says goodbye
And rides off into the sunset

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Turkey: Government continues its crackdown on journalists
Monday 25th April 2016

ONE journalist has been arrested and another denied entry to Turkey in the latest crackdown on free speech by the government.

Turkish-Dutch columnist Ebru Umar was arrested on Saturday after tweeting about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, her paper said yesterday. The Metro journalist tweeted that police were at her door and that she was being taken to a police station in the resort of Kusadasi.

German newspaper Bild said yesterday that Greek photographer Giorgos Moutafis was denied entry at Istanbul airport on his way to a job in Libya on Saturday.

The snapper said he was told that his name was on a list of people barred from entering the country. He was not told why. He was forced to take the next flight back to Athens yesterday morning.

The incident came days after a journalist with a German public broadcaster was prevented from entering Turkey.

Dutch NOS TV reports today there has been a burglary at Ms Umar’s home in Amsterdam. Her computer is said to have been stolen, and her whole home ransacked. Erdogan‘s secret police are suspected of this crime.

‘Human rights are terrorism’, Turkey’s Erdogan claims


This video says about itself:

November 28, 2015: Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi was shot and killed Saturday in the southern Turkish city of Diyarbakir.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Turkey: Four academics put on trial over ‘terrorist propaganda’

Saturday 23rd April 2016

FOUR Turkish academics went on trial yesterday in Istanbul for allegedly spreading “terrorist propaganda” in the latest crackdown on dissent by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

The four academics were among a group of more than 1,000 scholars who signed a declaration in January criticising the government’s brutal military operations on majority-Kurdish areas of the country since last July.

They were arrested last month after holding a news conference during which they stood by the declaration.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the military sieges of south-eastern cities in response to renewed Kurdistan Workers’ Party attacks.

Mr Erdogan has resorted to laws against insulting the presidency on more than 1,000 occasions since his election in 2014.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the courthouse in Istanbul to show their support for the Cumhuriyet newspaper’s chief editor Can Dundar and Ankara representative Erdem Gul, as well as the four academics.

The in-camera trial of Mr Dundar and Mr Gul resumed in a separate chamber of the Istanbul court, but was adjourned again until May 6.

The two are accused of espionage and aiding terrorists by publishing photos of National Intelligence Organisation arms shipments to Syrian terrorists.

Journalism can never be described as espionage,” said opposition MP Garo Paylan. “Journalism is about revealing misdeeds by the state and relaying this to the public.”