Archive for the 'Turkey' Category

“Walls of Shame”

Accounts from the Inside: The Detention Centres of Evros
new report by Pro Asyl

Obviously, Europe’s main concern is the creation of »walls« in order to hinder or to prevent the access to its territory. Physical walls like the fence, the moat and border controls in Evros but also invisible walls that are constituted by the lack of protection to those in need, rights denials, systematic detention, detention and living conditions violating human dignity, Readmission Agreements and the Dublin II Regulation. The effects of these heightening walls have their most tragic face in the many lost and dead at border. This is why we chose to speak about walls of shame in this report.

Walls of Shame (download report in English)

Iranian refugees arrested during protests against UNHCR in Turkey

On Sunday, 19 December 2010, 12 iranian refugees were arrested by turkish police forces after protests in front of UNHCR’s offices in Ankara. The demonstration was held in order to denounce the refugee agency’s violation of the rights of asylum-seekers in Turkey and was part of an international campaign coordinated by the International Coalition for the Rights of Iranian Refugees (ICRIR).

The refugees’ list of accusations against UNHCR is long. In a call for joint international protests against refugees’ situation in Turkey, ICRIR representatives proclaim deep concern about unprofessional and criminalizing treatment by UNHCR staff, long waiting periods for recognition as refugees, untenable living conditions for asylum-seekers, insufficient protection against violence and abuse by both turkish police and iranian secret agents as well as denial of official refugee status without cause.

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Italy – Greece – Turkey

Article published in la Repubblica about Italy’s attemp to stop immigration via Turkey and Greece

Immigration: Manganelli wants to expand cooperation to Turkey and Greece | 28th September 2010

According to the Chief of Police Antonio Manganelli, it is possible to block the landing of illegal immigrants at the coast of Salento ‘through the expansion of international cooperation to Turkey and Greece,’ Manganelli said to a journalist on the way to Lecce, where a mass was to be held in honor of St. Michael the Archangel, patron of the State Police. ‘We have worked well with a number of countries in West Africa and with Libya. We have reset landings on Lampedusa. But we have a problem,’ Manganelli admitted, ‘We are still open for those, crossing the routes through Turkey. I was in Greece last month to talk about this problem with them. Rodolfo Ronconi, Central Director of Immigration and Border Police at the Italian Ministry of Interior is going to visit Turkey in the next view days. After Lecce,’ Manganelli said, ‘I will leave for Brussels to meet the heads of the European and African police forces to discuss precisely this issue.’

From Lesvos to Kabul

About the readmission agreement between Turkey and Greece leading to direct refoulement to states that practise torture

The readmission protocol between Greece and Turkey was signed in 2001, but hasn’t entered into force yet. Instead Greece carried out illegal push backs to Turkey via the northern border in the Evros region. In May 2010 Greek and Turkish authorities met and discussed the concrete implementation. They declared their will to implement the readmission protocol in the near future and agreed that at least 1000 requests per year will be accepted by Turkey. More detailed negotiations concerning the protocol are ongoing at the moment. On our journey from Samos via Izmir to Mytilene we found out that parallel to the negotiations first steps are taken to start a one year pilot project, which is expected to start in two to three month from now.

The sign reads: Izmir Police Management, Foreigners department Deportation Center

Continue reading ‘From Lesvos to Kabul’

Pagani – Villa Azadi – Dikili

As you can see, this our blog is picking up speed again, and we intend to maintain that speed: A lot of things are happening, and of course we will make a lot of things happen this year again, too. But one after the other. We receive a lot of questions concerning various developments, so we try to follow up. We start with these sites.

Pagani, detention centre/prison
Is Pagani closed or not? This is the question most often asked, and subject of heated debate. We have always stated that Pagani is closed (as not-functioning as a detention centre) and open (as in rather open reception centre). This is not entirely true anymore.

To be very clear: The situation in Pagani is far from what it was last year, and this is still a major success. To date, not more than 30 refugees are detained in Pagani, but at most for a couple of days, until they are being transferred to Xios or Athens. We still need to verify what is happening to them there (white paper? detention? deportation?), so bear with us for the time being. The cells however are never closed, a lot of people sleep in the yard, which however is locked and guarded by the local police. The visible difference is that Frontex has become active in the camp, interrogating detainees (like what is happening in Samos).

What to make of this news? The Greek state clearly has not managed to reverse the situation that was created during and after noborder last year. There are no real detention capacities, a new, human-rights-compatible detention centre has not been built (also due to local popular resistance), it is only the european side of things that is moving forward, intervening, forging ahead.

Villa Azadi, open reception centre for under-age refugees
Some of you might be familiar with Villa Azadi, the open reception centre for under-age refugees near the village Agiassos on Lesvos. It was one of the few efforts on behalf of the greek state to house migrants in need of protection in a good and safe environment.

Villa Azadi is not functioning anymore as of this month. There is no more money, hence no paid staff.

Dikili, Turkish port opposite Lesvos, to become deportation port
The newspaper Ethnos reported on the 5th of July that

[d]uring last week’s meeting of Greek and Turkish officials on irregular migration in Athens, the Turkish side agreed to set out the port of Dikili, about 15 miles off Lesvos island, to serve the readmission of irregular migrants in Turkey. Turkish authorities estimate that the port will start operating within the present month of July.

In May, during a joint cabinet session of the Greek and Turkish governments, an agreement was reached to reinforce the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol. Apart from agreeing to process 1.000 readmission requests per year, the Turkish side also agreed to open a port for direct deportations. So far, deportations from Greece to Turkey had to pass the land border at the river Evros/Meriç. So in the case of the islands, all intercepted and to-be-deported migrants had to be transferred to Athens, then on to Thrace, and over the land border. This might change now.

The developments in the Agean are severely lopsided. While Greece and Europe are strengthening their deportation capabilities (Frontex patrols, Frontex interrogators, deportations via sea, the continued use of Pagani), the reform (read: creation) of an asylum system vaguely reminiscent of protection is not moving forward at all, and the few gems like Villa Azadi are being shut down.

Video: Demonstration at Kumkapi Detention Centre, Istanbul

A video from the demonstration on Friday, 2. July. It was organised by the Migrants Solidarity Network and ESF’s migration network at Kumkapi Detention Center, right in the center of the City.

About w2eu

This is the blog of the antiracist network Welcome to Europe. It was formerly known as


The name Welcome to Europe expresses the discontent and anger we feel when looking at the fatal realities of the European external border: the long documented deaths and suffering have continued for years, and no end is in sight. We stand for a grassroots movement that embraces migration and wants to create a Europe of hospitality.


We maintain our focus on the European external border in Greece, but will not limit ourselves to that geographical area. The right of freely roaming the globe has to be fought for everywhere. Join us!


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Voices from the Inside of Pagani (2009)

Watch the video