Istanbul suicide bomb attack linked to ISIS; Migrant, refugee deal criticized as “unethical,” March 14 to March 20

(Hurriyet Daily News)

(Hurriyet Daily News)

Headlines from Greece, Europe and Turkey for the week, March 14 to March 20.

GREECE

EU approved support mechanism for refugees in Greece, which will include food, water, shelter and medicine as basic necessities. The EU says 35,000 refugees and migrants are currently trapped in Greece, whereas the Greek government puts the total closer to 44,000. (EKathimerini, March 15)

Golden Dawn Party member charged with the murder of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas has been released from police custody after exceeding the maximum detention period before trial. Giorgos Roupakias, who self-identifies with the Golden Dawn neo-nazi party, was held by police authorities for 18 months without a trial. The murder of Fyssas in September 2013 cause large public protest. (Ekathimerini, March 18)

Angelina Jolie visited refugees at camps in Greece this week, and met with Greek officials including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The American actress and ambassador for the UN High Commission on Refugees said the refugees at the camps in Pireaus, are experiencing a “deteriorating humanitarian situation.” Jolie’s visit attracted international attention to the refugee crisis in Greece. (Ekathimerini, March 17)

Members of a refugee smuggling gang were arrested by Greek Authorities on March 16. The perpetrators, which included a retired senior ranking officer of the Civil Aviation Authority, facilitated the illegal flights transporting refugees from an airport in Mesolongi, Greece to various cities in Europe. (Ekathimerini, March 16)

EUROPE

The European Union and Turkey agreed on Friday to a deal on the influx of migrants and refugees into Greece. The plan includes returning those arriving into Greece illegally back to Turkey for legal placement into the EU. (Niki Papadogiannakis, March 18)

Human rights advocates including, Medcines Sans Frontiers criticized the deal, calling it “unethical” and a “false solution.” (Euronews, March 20)

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been charged with “terrorist murder” by Belgium authorities, after admitting to being in Paris on the night of the attacks. Belgian authorities are coordinating to extradite Abdeslam to France. (Euronews, March 19)

TURKEY

Syrian Kurds declared a federal region in Syria’s north, after a conference with Kurdish and Arab officials who agreed on creating a “federal system” to unify the region. The decision has been criticized by Turkish officials, who argue that the Kurds have no legal basis and threatens the territorial integrity of Syria. (Hurriyet Daily News, March 17)

A suicide bomb attack in central Istanbul killed five people and injured 39 others. The attack that occurred in the Turkish city on March 19 has been characterized as “inhuman” by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. (Hurriyet Daily News, March 19)

The attack on the Istanbul on March 19 has been connected to ISIS, according to Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala. (Euronews, March 20)

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