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#FortressEurope: Stuck in No Man’s Land

European Union member states play a major role in the disgusting abuse of migrants at the Greek/Turkish border. The closing of EU borders and the EU/Turkey deal lead to the current situation in no man’s land between the Turkish/Greek border. The Erdogan regime send people to the border, dont let them return to Turkey, and Greek cops are teargassing migrants to “defend” this EU border. Its no surprise that Erdogan is abusing the situation of migrants to put pressure on NATO “allies”. Merkel, one of the architects of the inhuman EU/Turkey deal was warned more than once about the consequences of this deal. We want to stress that its the xenophobic and racist policies of EU member states that makes it possible for Erdogan to blackmail the EU. There is a lot more to say about these policies and we surely will publish an article about that in the coming days. For now we decided to re-publish a short overview about the current developments. What follows is an article by Are you Syrious about the situation at the border. We don’t share all views in the article, as we think the responsibillity of EU member states is not made clear enough. On the other hand we are aware that Are You Syrious published a lot of other articles about the EU Turkey deal and the key role the EU is playing in this disgusting power game. For us, the question is: how long are we going to tolerate this situation and what are we going to do about it?

Originally published by Are You Syrious. Introduction above by Enough 14.

Following the airstrikes that killed 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib Syria, the Turkish government has made the sudden announcement that it will open its southwestern border with Syria for 72-hours, allowing free passage for Syrians fleeing the country. Turkish officials have claimed that the police, coast guard and border security officials have been told to step down, with one senior official claiming that Syrian refugees heading towards Europe would not be stopped either on land or by sea.

Greece / Turkey Border Situation

On Thursday evening, Turkey ordered police, coast guard and border patrol officers to stand down in response to the deaths of more than 33 soldiers by Russian-backed Syrian Government forces. On Friday, reports poured in about refugees making their way to the border, sometimes even assisted by the Turkish government.

In response to questions regarding the Turkish government’s position on the situation, the spokesman of the Turkish Justice and Development Party, Omar Jilick said:

“Our policies about the refugees didn’t change but we can’t from now on control their movements.”

The exact number and makeup of the travelling refugees still cannot be verified, as reports about how many are on the move are conflicting and subject to exaggeration. However, it seems as of last night around 150 refugees from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine were trapped in the border region, specifically between Edirne and the Greek border. This area is being called a sort of no man’s land, where there is nothing but sprawling fields and darkness. Some on the ground have reported that refugees wishing to return to Istanbul are facing resistance from Turkish forces. Prevented from returning to Istanbul and prevented from entering Greece, these refugees seem to be stuck in no man’s land as tensions on all sides rise.

Reports coming through social media showed what appeared to be Greek authorities firing teargas at refugees.

The news around the situation is troubling for two reasons: 1) The Greek authorities’ use of teargas on refugees at the border is inhumane and puts lives at risk 2) Trapping refugees in the border region with no option to move will only increase tensions and further endanger everyone present. Turkey seems to be playing with refugees’ lives in order to fulfill its political ambitions of garnering Western support against the Syrian regime and in doing so is putting many at risk.

In response to Turkey’s declaration, NATO members called for an urgent briefing on the situation yesterday and the US State Department announced it is considering providing assistance to Turkey.

In its own response, Greece has reportedly sent backup troops to the border and has supposedly closed the entire border not just for refugees, but for everyone.

In response to the declaration, local Greek media reported an increase of sea arrivals today. It must be noted, however, that this is probably unfounded information, as the numbers of arrivals seem to be similar to those on any other day.

For more information on the border situation in Arabic: للمزيد من المعلومات باللغة العربية

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