Frontex begins migrant deportations to Turkey; Erdogan’s security causes chaos in D.C., March 27 to April 4

(Dikili Port, Turkey | AP)

(Dikili Port, Turkey | AP)

Headlines from Greece, Europe and Turkey for the week, March 27 to April 4.

GREECE
Greece began deporting migrants back to Turkey on Monday morning, a move that is in accordance with the EU plan to curb irregular migration. (BBC, April 4)

Frontex deported 202 migrants staying in holding camps in Chios and Lesbos back to Turkey. (Frontex, April 4)

Legislators on Friday passed the bill necessary to execute the deportations to Turkey. Amid criticism by human rights advocates, Greek lawmakers moved to ensure that the bill adheres to international law: “A blame-game against our country is starting, that based on the new agreement we will encroach on human rights,” Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said.”I assure you – and I believe this will relieve everyone – that we will strictly adhere to human rights procedures as stipulated by international law and the Geneva Convention.” (Reuters, April 1)

(Dikili, Turkey | Reuters)

(Dikili, Turkey | Reuters)

Authorities say they will send interpreters and add loudspeakers at the Idomeni border camp to crack down on misinformation targeted towards migrants and refugees. Many have remained at the makeshift camp with the false hope that the border to FYROM will open for them to pass to the rest of Europe. (Ekathimerini, March 28)

Facebook investigates reports of smugglers selling tickets bypassing Greece. The social media website told Reuters they located advertisements for tickets from Mersin, Turkey to Italy for $4,000 per person. As the EU-Turkey deal is being implemented, migrant smugglers are looking for new routes to avoid Greek hotspots that are being heavily monitored by Frontex and NATO. (Ekathimerini, April 1)

EUROPE

Cyprus hailed a “success story” after exiting IMF and EU bailout program. Cypriot authorities announced to the institutions on Thursday they did not require the last 2.7 billion euros of the loan package. Cyprus follows in the steps of Ireland, Spain and Portugal who have also exited bailout programs. (Ekathimerini, March 31)

TURKEY

(Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C. | Reuters)

(Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C. | Reuters)

During his visit to Washington D.C. this week, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at the Brookings Institute where Turkish security outside clashed with protesters and journalists. Video from Voice of America shows Turkish security forces in physical altercations with protesters and journalists. One Turkish journalist said on Twitter a Turkish security guard called her a “PKK whore.” Other reports say Turkish security kicked a journalist out of the event but Brookings security let them back in. (VOA News Facebook, March 31)

(Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C. | Foreign Policy Magazine)

(Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C. | Foreign Policy Magazine)


In his remarks to the Brookings Institute, President Erdogan addressed the protesters and the allegations of freedom of speech abuses: “Inside the Turkish prisons there are no journalists who have been incarcerated or sentenced to imprisonment due to their professions or due to their freedom of expression rights,” Erdogan said. “I have seen some people shouting on the streets outside. They are shouting but they don’t know what’s going on back in Turkey.”

As many migrants and refugees caught on islands in Greece are being deported, Turkey now faces the challenge of providing a “safe” haven for 3 million people. (Deutsche Welle, March 27)

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