01 May 2016
Merkel desperate to salvage her Turkey deal (EVRO Intelligence, link):
"Frankfurter Allgemeine has an excellent report about Angela Merkel's difficult visit to Turkey. The most important new information is that the German government does not expect the visa liberalisation to happen this year because Turkey will not change its anti-terrorism laws. But it still hopes that Turkey will continue to abide by the agreement on refugees. This hope rests on the assumption that President Tayyip Recep Erdogan will not ultimately behave like a sultan, but will act like a rational politician....
It is very clear from this article that the only thing Merkel cares about is salvaging her deal. She addresses the human rights situation in Turkey in a perfunctory manner, to the extent that German domestic politics demands of her. "
Migrant crisis: Turkey could block EU deal over visas (BBC News, link):
"Turkey's parliament will block a deal with the EU on migrants if Turks do not gain visa-free access to the bloc, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says....the EU says Turkey still needs to meet certain conditions, including changes to its terror laws, before access can be granted. The agreement is aimed at halting the mass movement of people into Europe." and see:
"But for Turkey to enjoy visa-free travel for its citizen narrow it must meet five conditions, out of an initial 72, including narrowing the definition of terrorism. The bloc is concerned that the existing legislation is being used to silence dissent.... Erdogan added that if further bilateral talks on the visa issue didn't yield results, "the readmission agreement" on refugees wouldn't be approved by Turkey." and also:
Erdogan says Turkish parliament will block EU refugee deal if no visa-free travel (euractiv, link): "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday (24 May) warned the European Union that lawmakers would block legislation related to the landmark deal to stem the flow of refugees to Europe if Ankara was not granted its key demand of visa-free travel...." and Erdogan says Turkey will not change its anti-terrorism law (euractiv, link)
On the Refugee Trail: Keep quiet and eat soup (link):
"Today, the Greek authorities at last started what they had long threatened: an eviction of the camp at Idomeni. Greece’s migration spokesman said that everyone knew that “conditions would be much better” in the camps they’re being moved to. He promised “no violence would be used”, but also that he expected the 8000 people, who’ve been there for months, to be gone in “no more than a week.” To ensure that nobody sees just how peacefully Idomeni will be evacuated, all journalists and activists have been removed from the area."
Are You Syrious (24.5.16)
2000 or so people so far evicted from Idomeni.
"After an MSF doctor finished her shift in Idomeni today, she stated “What struck me the most were the blank faces. People looked like they had lost all hope”. She was referring to people who were evicted today from the camp where some of them have lived for over three months. They were hoping the border would open and that they would have freedom of movement.
Early in the morning, police arrived with buses and bulldogs, and eviction began. Before the evening, about 2,000 people were taken to other camps from Idomeni. Relocation will continue tomorrow and it should be finished by the end of this month. Unfortunately, people are being relocated to camps where living conditions are unbearable."
Czech Republic: Refugee shelter eviction
"Police in Prague made another attempt to evict people who are squatting at Klinika center, including several refugees. From Klinika Twitter we learned how riot police came claimed the presence of a bomb in the building. However, the bomb was not found, but the police entered the center forcibly. Apparently some people were arrested. Activist living inside are calling for help. Follow their twitter account @centrum_klinika.
The same center was attacked several times this year. In February, a group of people threw Molotov cocktails at the building. The attack took place just hours after thousands of people rallied in Prague against Muslims and immigration. Activists who work at the center said the attackers were neo-Nazis."
Bulgaria to put more barbed wire along Turkish border, says PM (hurriyetdailynews.com, link)
"Bulgaria will increase the line of barbed wire along its border with Turkey, which it set up to stop the flow of migrants entering the country, from 30 to 146 kilometers in two months’ time, the country’s prime minister has said.
The 30-kilometer-long barbed wire fence along Bulgaria’s border with Turkey is not enough to stop migrants from crossing into Bulgaria and will thus be extended to 146 kilometers within the forthcoming two months, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov was quoted by Bulgarian News Agency BTA as saying....Turkey has around 270 kilometers of border with Bulgaria."
Italian navy saves 550 refugees as smugglers' trawler capsizes in Med (Guardian, link):
"Praise for sailors’ swift action as damatic photographs show overloaded boat turning over as naval vessel approaches..
As Italian naval ships approached to rescue the stricken asylum-seekers, their boat – a repurposed trawler – tipped over, throwing those on deck into the water.
At least five people drowned when the boat capsized “due to overcrowding and instability caused by the high number of people on board”, the Italian navy said in a statement. But the sailors managed to save about 550 lives, in a mission that migration experts described as miraculous."
Greek police steps up evacuation of Idomeni border camp (euractiv, link): "Greek police yesterday (24 May) transferred some two thousand refugees out of the overcrowded camp of Idomeni, launching a major operation to clear up the squalid tent city where thousands fleeing war and poverty have lived for months."
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