Coronavirus threatens Greek-Turkish border refugees


This 6 March 2020 video says about itself:

Turkey has deployed 1,000 police officers to its border to prevent Greece from pushing migrants and refugees back into its territory.

Tens of thousands of people have been trying to cross into Europe since Ankara opened its borders last week.

But Greece does not want them.

Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Edirne on the Turkey-Greece border.

By Seda Taskin in Turkey:

Friday, March 20, 2020

Thousands of refugees fear coronavirus after being abandoned on Turkish-Greek border

SOME 10,000 refugees are at heightened risk of coronavirus at the Turkish-Greek border with nowhere to go, despite being asked to “stay at home” to prevent spread of the disease.

Muhammed Salih, who is among those to have been waiting at the Kapikule border for 20 days, warned that the situation is “really bad”.

“Everyone is afraid of catching the coronavirus here. We don’t want to be sick.

“They tell people to ‘stay at home’. But where should those who don’t have a house stay?”

Thousands of migrants have been left stranded in the border region for more than three weeks.

Many of them were bussed there by Turkey after its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened land and sea borders with Greece, promising to “flood the gates of Europe” unless he was given support for his illegal war on northern Syria.

Many children are among those trapped, living in makeshift tents in cold weather.

Mr Salih said that soldiers prevented the refugees from accessing the villages, warning that food supplies were running short.

“The soldiers are constantly fighting with us and want us to leave. But we have nowhere to go. Our only hope is to leave here as soon as possible,” he said, explaining that he had sold all of his possessions in a bid to reach Europe.

He said that there were about ten thousand people at the border, surviving on bread, water and biscuits.

“Food and blanket supplies are very insufficient. They give a meal for three people to a family of six. We need food for our babies, but we cannot find it either.”

Appealing for help, he said: “It gets very cold in the evening. They should not forget us. We have a soul.”

Republican People’s Party MP for Istanbul Ali Seker warned that the situation for refugees was as serious as the coronavirus outbreak.

Europe, the US and Turkey were all responsible for the situation, he said, calling on them to take necessary measures.

Refugees have reported brutal treatment at the hands of Greek security services and the Frontex border agency. Many claim to have been badly beaten, saying that tear gas has been fired at crowds which included children.

A Syrian man was shot dead by Greek authorities at the border two weeks ago.

Lawyer Abdullah Resul Demir, president of the International Refugee Rights Association, confirmed that a criminal complaint was to be filed against the Greek police over the alleged brutality.

Peace illegal in Erdogan’s Turkey


This July 2015 Associated Press video from Turkey says about itself:

A thousand women demonstrate for peace on border

00:00 Protestors with hands in the air chanting 00:09 Protestors cheer the arrival of a bus with more demonstrators arriving 00:13 Wide reverse shot of demonstration 00:16 SOUNDBITE: (Turkish) Elif Akgul, spokeswoman for “Kadin Platform”, or Women Platform: 00:27 Close-up of women listening 00:33 Women with banner chanting 00:42 Protesters acting out mock fight 00:47 Close-up of woman and flowers 00:53 Woman waving and cheering 01:00 Wide of protest 01:04 Ends

By Steve Sweeney:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Activists hit out as anti-war slogans banned in Istanbul

ACTIVISTS and human-rights lawyers in Istanbul today demanded that a ban on the slogan “no to war” and demonstrations against military operations in Syria be overturned.

The city governor’s office came under fire after it issued a decree against all actions and activities criticising Turkey’s offensive in Idlib province, where it is holed up with its jihadist allies.

The ban prohibits all rallies, demonstrations and the distribution of anti-war literature “because they can cause public indignation,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

But the prevention of peaceful gatherings was branded “unacceptable” and a breach of international conventions by Gulseren Yoleri, chairwoman of the Human Rights Association’s Istanbul branch.

She said: “To praise peace, to demand peace is a responsibility. Therefore banning statements defending peace and life and human rights is unacceptable.

“Human rights defenders will always advocate peace. For this reason, we think that the ban must be removed as soon as possible.”

Turkey has moved to silence all opposition to its illegal invasions and occupations of northern Syria.

This morning Umar Karatepe, head of communications for the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (Disk), was detained over social media posts opposing Turkey’s actions in Idlib.

He was freed on a judicial order after being interrogated about the content of his tweets.

Mr Karatepe said that it was “the price to defend life and peace,” adding: “that price is not worse than death and war.”

Investigations are also under way into scores of opposition politicians, mostly from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for opposing the so-called Operation Peace Spring — Turkey’s war against Kurds in northern Syria.

HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar have demanded the recall of parliament and a debate to be held on the war in Syria so that the public are informed of developments.

They insisted that dialogue was the only solution, hitting out at the “cover up, censorship and blocking of social media platforms.”

Earlier this week the United Nations accused Turkey of potential war crimes during its operations in northern Syria.

It warned that charges could be brought against Turkish military commanders for atrocities committed by the myriad of jihadist groups it supports, including the Free Syrian Army.

This included the brutal torture and execution of Kurdish-Syrian politician Hevrin Khalef whose body was found dumped at the side of the road in October last year.

‘Trump, NATO shouldn’t support Erdogan’s Syrian war’


This 29 February 2020 video by United States Democratic Congresswoman, presidential candidate and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Say no to getting dragged into Erdogan’s war with Russia

Donald Trump needs to make it clear to NATO and Erdogan that the United States will not be dragged into a war with Russia by the aggressive, Islamist, expansionist dictator of Turkey, a so-called “NATO” ally.

The main “rebel” force fighting force in Idlib [allies of the Turkish Erdogan regime] is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a United Nations-designated terrorist front led by the former Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda. The former top US diplomat in charge of the anti-ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) campaign, Brett McGurk, described Idlib province as “the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11” and “a huge problem”: here.