Action against five years EU-Turkey Deal in Mytilini

Nieuws, gepost door: No Border Kitchen and Mpineo Collective. op 19/03/2021 03:07:41

Wanneer: 19/03/2021 - 07:06

Today we commemerate the five year "anniversary" of the deal with multiple actions of protest and resitance against both this deal and others like it.

Five years. 1826 days.

It has been five years to the day that the European Union and Turkey signed the EU-Turkey deal. In 2016 this deal showed many the true face of the EU. The disdain and contempt for human life embedded in the structural racism that runs through our societies formalised in a document. A document that would destroy countless lives and force many more to suffer. Words like "irregular migration" and "humanitarian improvements" serve to mask their true intent. To exclude all they consider "other". In the years that followed the intentions and consequences of the deal became more and more clear.

After thousands of people forced to flee war and poverty sought refuge in Europe, they called it a "crisis". Instead of welcoming people in accordance with ideas of "human rights" they signed a deal with an aspiring dictator. Instead of helping out the EU granted legimitacy and financial support to his regime. A regime that continues to oppress everybody that disagrees. And so "safety" is a relative term that is only used when it is useful for Greece or the EU to justify their support and dependance on a state that supposedly goes against everything they stand for. And Erdogan continues to this day to play his position thanks to this deal, using human beings as pawns in his despotic games.

The deal represented a paradigm shift in Greece and on the Island of Lesvos. It facilitated a change in asylum procedures, that shifted one of the fundamental questions uderpinning the process. People risking their life to make an asylum claim usually get presented with the question: why did you "chose" to leave your country of origin? Because of the deal, the question is now: Why are you not safe in Turkey? (1) The absurdity of this question knows no bounds. Several months after the signing of the deal there was a coup attempt in Turkey, that was at first used to arrest and jail supposed Gulinists. But as expected later many leftists, supposed PKK members and other dissidends where socially isolated and fired from their jobs, or jailed. In addition to this, Edrogan has been known to at least symphatise with Deash/IS and offer them safe spaces and corridors througout the country. Regarding the question "is Turkey a safe country", one person working with us wrote about the EU-Turkey deal (published before on our facebook page with full consent) the following:

"First, I went to Turkey, but actually I wanted to go to Europe. I stay some time in Turkey, to get a job to send money back to my sister. She needs a surgery to be able to move the leg again, go to school and have a good life. The good thing was, I got a job and managed to send her the money and she was able to move again, and go to school. After that I started to think more and more about Europe. Europeans think Turkey is a safe country for me, but it's not true. Why?

1. Turkey organised a lot of militia for Isis. This makes it dangerous for me to be around. In 2016 they killed a friend in his house because he spoke on social media about the situation in Syria.

2. The police came to my house by mistake. They where looking for Isis members and got the adress of my neighbour, but raided my by mistake. For two weeks I was in the police station, until they found out I'm a normal person , and I also don't like Isis.

3. Every week we find a bomb in different area, and the police come to take it away. For example, close to Taksim I sit with my friend and close to us a suicide bomber blew up a club less then one kilomoter away from us. " (2)

The designation of Turkey as a "safe country" is a transperant lie. But a lie that gets told many times, because it serves the interests of the authorities. It is a lie that has caused much harm over the years.

Instead of people being relatively free to move after arrival, they where now forced into camps. More specifically a camp that had already been build some years earlier, with a capacity of 300 people. The camp was named after the village next to it, and that village was called Moria. The conditions and expiriences inside of that place have been well documented, and it was this deal that was one of the biggest reasons many people where forced to spend their time there. It also contributed to an increased distinction between "refugees" and "asylum seekers". This distinction that is important to reinforce the status quo is a dangerous and false dichotomy one. Sadly it is an idea that is deeply ingrained in the minds of the people that are fortunate enough to be born in Europe.

The deal also facilitated easy deportations back to Turkey. Every week the ferry would come and take those that where captured back to Turkish prisons, where many where forced to stay for months without access to legal support. Despite this, people tried time and time again to reach Europe. The deal also played a large part in shifting the narrative on the Island and Europe at large. With an "alternative" in hand, the authorities where free to double down on the story around that charactarised the human beings that where still making the crossings as "invading barbarians" that wanted to destroy our "European way of life". While this shift was not immediatly apperent, the seeds where surely sown in this time period, with again this same deal at its foundation.

It is important to mention the help that the bureacrats of the EU received in the planning and formulation of the deal. Consultancy firm Mckinsey was heavily involved in constructing the deal. For months they did fieldwork, researching how the deal would work in practice. They where awarded the consultancy position without any competition, and their involvement was not widly known until last year.(3) Before that they have also consulted Germany about the proccessing of their asylum claims. Besides that, they had also helped the American border security agency ICE with some proposals that ICE officials deemed "too harsh". (4) Many reccomendations made by Mckinsey with regards to the situation in the Aegean that where not implemented by the Syriza, where subsequently used by Nea Demokratia after they took power. The sinister implication of a "consultancy firm" that involves itself internationally with border policy that seems to be exclusivly aimed at "efficiency" are obvious. Efficiency means exclusion. The more exclusion, the more efficient. An efficient asylum system means efficient deportations, efficient pushbacks and efficient asylum processes means a high rate of returns, "voluntary" or otherwise.

The deal was meant to be a blueprint. A design that could be used in other places, with a few changes. And it was used by both the EU and individual member states. After 2016 followed deals with Libya, where the EU funded a militia and transformed them into a coastguard. Greece made a deal with Afgahnistan last year to facilitate voluntary returns and deportations. (5) The European Union continues to fund states and organisations that supposedly go against their "founding principles" in order to make it more and more impossible for people to find safety and dignity within its borders. Several times Erdogan threatend to "open the borders" when he did not get his way. Last year he loaded people into busses and had them driven to the Evros border region in order to put pressure on the EU. This led to clashes at the border and served to consolidate the far-right in Greece as a whole, but especially on Levos. It is clear that the effects of this despicable deal still affects many people to this day. Not only that, but they are reworking the terms of the deal.(6) It is very indicative of the EU's ideal for the future. Instead of taking responsabilaty for their liberal values, they chose to renew the deal that has caused so much suffering over the years.

We reject the social and economic system that values profit over people. Together we join our struggle for a better world free of Racism,Prisons,Borders,Sexism, Homophobia and Classes in solidarity. All groups, collectives and friends joining us in actions and demonstrations on this day in these difficult times, we regonize our common struggles and we see you. All we have is each other.

1826 days, and the struggle continues.

No Nations, No Borders


More information on the investigation into Mckinsey:

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