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Notes From #Pazarkule/ #Evros, Fourteenth Day

Pazarkule. Turkey. March 13, 2020. There were very few migrants in Karaağaç today. In addition to the day restriction for them, we have learned that no more than 200 people will be allowed to leave the side where they’ve been kept, in one day.

Originally publiehd by GÖÇMEN DAYANIŞMASI.

We have been following the increase of coronavirus panic around the country. However, the health problems that have arisen in the area where the migrants stay, are mostly caused by reasons that exist already from the beginning such as insufficient shelter and hygiene conditions, difficulties to access to food and drinking water or police interventions made with gas and plastic bullets in the area. So, it is not possible (for now) to claim that the health problems are related to the coronavirus or the coronavirus is spreading in the area . Providing regular and adequate health services to the residents has been a need from the very beginning.  But, we did not observe a situation that would cause panic about the spread of the virus among local people or migrants. We can only say that since yesterday, some of the people working in cafes to where migrants go wear gloves or offer cologne as precautions.

There are checkpoints at the end of the town (Karaağaç) and on each road which reach the Pazarkule border gate. No one can pass through the checkpoints, except for the migrants, the authorities or local people who have fields in the region. Journalists (other than TRT and Anadolu Agency), who report on the situation in the region, can come close to these points the most. We can only observe the situation outside of this broad security ring which surrounds the border area and the military zone where migrants are staying. From this distance, the only way to understand where the border is and where the migrants are located, is by seeing the smoke of the tear gases fired by Greece.

Everyday life in the town is actually quite normal. The only difference noticeable in the town’s routine is the migrants who come to the town at certain times of the day to charge their phones or to shop. Otherwise, it might be possible not even to recognize that thousands of people have been kept in the border just at the edge of the town, or in case a sudden change occurs there

The police continue to threaten shopkeepers with closing down their shops and fining them if they allow migrants to charge their phones. Thus, migrants’ communication with the outside is getting more and more disconnected.

Noborder Pazarkule/Evros, March 13, 2020.

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