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Notes From #Pazarkule/ #Evros, Tenth Day

Pazarkule. Turkey. March 9, 2020. Our migrant friends who got involved in the conversation have reported the use of plastic bullets and that there are injured people inside including one of them. The injured one was saying: “We are going to pass the border or die. But please do not leave the rest alone.”

Originally published by GÖÇMEN DAYANIŞMASI.

Our migrants friends reported the escalation of the abuse of police force especially after the working hours of the employees of the humanitarian aid institutions such as IOM, UNHCR, ASAM. Some of what have been reported to us is that it is not permitted to sit on the floor while waiting on the queue, that electric nightsticks are used and that women do not go out of the tents very often.

There are 30 toilet cabins for women and 30 for men. It has been reported that there are 15000 persons inside, 4000 of which are women. It has been prevented that people took tents inside. However, they permit the materials such as plastic that can be used as a tent. For the first time, they have handed out sleeping mats inside; however, only a thousand ones. The temperature has dropped 6-8 degree tonight.

According to what is reported, the number of dead on the field has reached 7, three of which is reported officially. There is a woman that is in the last trimester of her pregnancy. She says: “ Hopefully, my child is going to be born in Europe.”

According to our friend from the commission of migrant rights of Edirne Body of Lawyers, there are 90 cases against the actions taken by the Greece – the repartition, injuries, deaths and other forms of violation of rights- opened in the surrounding villages such as Edirne city center, Ipsala, Meric, Enez.

We have learned that Migration Management (DGMM) have contacted the body of lawyers in Istanbul, Ankara and Edirne to bring the case of violence of human rights implemented by Greece to European Court of Human Rights.

To some of the migrants that have stayed in the border for a while and then turned back to Denizli where they are registered, it was said that they have lost their temporary protection and that their demands of international protection have been accepted as withdrawn on the basis that they have committed border infringement. However, the Migration Management responded in that they do not have such a policy to accept as withdrawn the demands of the migrants that return. The uncertainty on this subject is one of the biggest concerns for the migrants here.

The number of arrivals/returns has significantly dropped in comparison to the earlier days. Those who wanted to go out were prevented from doing so since this evening. They have opened the doors at 19.00 saying that it was only for an hour. Suddenly, there was a big crowd in the center of Karaagac.

The villagers of Karaagac share partially their shops and their opportunities with the migrants. Almost in every plug socket, there are several phones being charged. However, the crowd is big for the ordinary capacity of the village. We can observe an increase in the racist discourse against the migrants.

The issue has turned into another crisis for the farmers. It is the time for harvesting and the seed-time but it is impossible that they access to their fields while the camping site is here.

We entered the coffee shop, and the people who did not know us tried to take us out crying “ Police, police, problem!” We got accepted when they recognized that we spoke Turkish. And they apologized red-facedly due to the humiliation telling us “we thought you were migrants.” They serve the locals in proper glasses while they serve the migrants in take-away paper glasses. And they say that the reason is the demand of the customers. The shop-owner was asking “Now they have money, that’s all right, but what will happen when they do not have money in the coming times?” We were warned against the risk that migrants might steal. The concerns are often voiced in the forms of questions such as “Is this field going to be turned into a concentration camp, or is it going to be evacuated? Are we going to be stuck with these people? ”   

Motorcycle policemen go around the shops and do not let migrants to sit down.

There is also the beginning of a new economy based on unfair prices. The migrants are asked 5 liras for the transportation from the migrant camp to the center of the village by the horse-drawn vehicles; a meter square of plastic is sold for 20 liras. For the reasons of comparison, we would like to inform that we bought plastic for a price of 24 liras for 50 meters square.

No Border Pazarkule/Edirne, March 9, 2020.

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