Pazarkule. Turkey. March 7, 2020. Today, around noon, The Bridging Peoples Association arrived at Karaağaç. As they were not allowed to enter the area where refugees are, they distributed approximately 150 packages composed of basic needs, on an earth road, which is about 1.5 km behind the Pazarkule border gate. On the other hand, we learned that just a few hours ago, Yavuz Selim cult was able to make a distribution in a place that is slightly closer to the area where refugees are.
Originally published by GÖÇMEN DAYANIŞMASI.
Around the same time, we were chatting with two Algerian friends. They stated that they couldn’t reach France legally, and although it is possible to cross to Italy via Tunisia or from Algeria to Spain by sea, they found that risky. They are vulnerable to potential interferences. They started working a year ago when they first came to Turkey. They saved money to continue their journey with the first opportunity they get to cross the border. They immediately took action when the border gate was open. Greek (GR) police caught them in one of the GR border villages, hold their phone and money, and sent them back on barefoot to Turkey.
They also state that a group from Afghanistan pulled a knife to them and seized their power banks. Even though it is not common, they say, it is possible to observe some small gang becomings. As they believe the opening of borders is their last chance, they continue to stay in the area and push the borders. Syrians act together in coordination with Iraqis and Ethiopians.
Around 13:00, we learned that the HDK team arriving from Istanbul was blocked when passing through the Tunca bridge. At first, they also were not allowed to continue on foot. After waiting for a while, as a result of the negotiations, they were able to enter Karaağaç on foot. However, both this team and The Bridging Peoples Association were followed and photographed by the police.
The weather is sunny. Karaağaç is one of the most popular places where people from Edirne spend their weekends. The place became a site of encounter for the people of Edirne who come to enjoy their holidays and refugees who come to meet their needs. The police put a hard effort to prevent this encounter by blocking refugees from being in the public eye, sitting in cafes, and going in and out of checkpoints.
In the afternoon, a friend of ours sent a message and informed us that they had passed the Turquaz Oil Station in Uzunköprü, where there were more than two thousand refugees before, and that this place was now empty.
At 16:40, we met with our Iranian friends who came from the border area that we cannot enter. They stated that the ongoing attacks use a red-colored gas that is more effective than the previous ones. However, our friends emphasize that they are now at a point of no return. They say that until today, they have done everything to establish a dialogue with Greek soldiers, announce what is happening on social media, spread the videos, but all these efforts remained inconclusive. So now they will do everything they can to cross the border.
Another one of our refugee friends happily says that they carried for two kilometers the supplies that came from independent sources. As a result, in the area, there was a spread of positive energy and increased motivation. They say that they visited the families in the area one by one and distributed the diapers according to needs.
On the other hand, as mentioned before, they add each day it’s getting more difficult for them to go to and return from Karaağaç. They state that they have to escape by crossing the barriers, and the military police chasing them is continuously swearing and even attacking them by throwing stones. Motorcycles continue to transfer those who can get out of the area, for 5 TL per person to the center of Karaağaç, which is 3 km away.
No Border Pazarkule/Edirne, March 7, 2020.
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