Tag Archives: turkey

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Brussels this morning

In Brussels.

Several Irish journalists asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny questions as he arrived for a meeting between Turkey and the EU’s heads of states or government – to discuss the numbers of refugees reaching Europe.

It’s being reported that Turkey is now seeking €20billion in return for Turkey taking back all non-Syrian refugees from Europe.

In addition, Turkey wants faster accession talks and quicker visa-free travel for its citizens within Europe.

Readers may wish to note that Ireland’s naval service rescued more than 8,000 people from Italy-bound boats off the coast of Libya and haven’t been present in the Aegean Sea to date, where boats of refugees, leaving Turkey, are bound for the Greek islands.

Ann Cahill (Irish Examiner):Can Ireland not do any more? In terms of helping the situation. I mean we have very few of the EU’s first-time asylum-seekers last year and I know we’re taking some but could we not do more?

Enda Kenny: “The problem is not only on the Irish side, we’re actually not, as you know, part of the protocol, Ann, but the thing is that we’ve taken some from resettlement and relocation. We’re committed to taking 4,000 and we’re working towards that with the personnel that we have, from Ireland, coming to both Greece and to Italy and with the hotspots and the personnel working there.”

Cahill: “Can we not take more from Turkey?”

Kenny: “Well I think we should first of all be able to deal with what we’ve got with the commitment that we’ve entered into. I might say, I spoke this morning as well to the Minister for Defence [Simon Coveney], I expect that it’s our intention to send one of our vessels down to the Mediterranean again, in order to help with the situation there, in so far as humanitarian assistance is concerned whether that be as part of the formally, of the European response or on a bi-lateral basis will be worked out. But it’s our intention to send a further vessel down.”

Cahill: “And will they take people back to Turkey if…”

Kenny: “Well that has to be worked out in respect of sending them down first of all and in what role they’ll play there either as part of a formal European, humanitarian response or as a bi-lateral arrangement as we had before.”

Cahill: “And would you favour that, would you..”

Kenny: “I’m fully in support of the call and the intention of sending a further vessel down, they did rescue 8,000 people on the last occasion.”

Watch in full here

Previously: Cannon Fodder

Ireland And The Turkey Refugee Facility

‘We Can Bus The Refugees To Greece’

Choice Would Be A Fine Thing

Related: EU migration summit stalls as Turkey ups demands – live (The Guardian)

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A video of the Turkish Coastguard water cannoning a dinghy full of refugees as it attempted to travel from Turkey to Lesbos island, Greece last October

You’ll recall the €22.9million that Ireland is contributing to the €3billion the European Council is giving Turkey to “stem the flow of migrants to Europe”.

Further to this…

Solidarity group Platanos, which is based on the north of Lesbos island, Greece, reports:

The refugees that arrived Wednesday at Platanos Camp, were soaking wet and in shock because, as they explained to us, the Turkish coastguard tried to force them to return to the Turkish coast with the use of threats, by creating artificial waves and by the extensive use of water cannons.

Two of the boats returned to the Turkish coast with all the passengers in shock. The remaining two boats managed to break through and reached Skala Sykamias, Lesvos.

[On Thursday] at 3 o’clock in the morning, the Greek Coastguard attempted to stop a new boat from reaching the coast at Skala Sykamia resulting in havoc, and the boat almost crashed on sharp rocks. The accident was prevented at the last moment by the intervention of the rescue boat belonging to the team ‘Sea Rescue’.

[On Thursday] morning, the Turkish coastguard was sighted from the ‘Korakas’ Observation Post repeating its deliberate attacks against boats in the middle of the sea, again by the use of water cannons.

Previously: Ireland And The Turkey Refugee Facility

We Can Bus The Refugees To Greece 

Video: Daphne Tolis


Leaked documents published today by Euro2day.gr showing the minutes of a meeting between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President of the European Council Donald Tusk 

You’ll recall the EU/Turkey deal on November 29, 2015.

In return for €3billion, visa-free access to Schengen zone countries for the citizens of Turkey and a speeding up of the process of allowing Turkey into the EU, Turkey promised to stem the flow of refugees travelling from Turkey to Greece.

Last week it was revealed that Ireland will be giving €22.9million to the so-called Turkey Refugee Facility.

Before this deal on November 29, 2015, there was a meeting between the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

Leaked minutes of the meeting have been published by Euro2day.gr and purport to show at least some of the negotiations between the three men.

They discussed, among other things, the Schengen project, Turkey becoming a part of the EU, support for this among the EU member states, and the amount of money Turkey should receive to curb the number of refugees leaving Turkey’s shores.

After Mr Erdoğan asked Mr Juncker and Mr Tusk if Turkey would receive €6billion or €3billion, Mr Erdoğan apparently said:

We [Turkey] can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria any time, and we can put the refugees on buses.”

A 12-kilometre fence was built along Turkey and Greece’s land border in 2011.

In addition, the minutes state:

Erdogan says that the EU will be confronted with more than a dead boy on the shores of Turkey. There will be 10,000 or 15,000. How will you deal with that?”

Meanwhile, it’s being reported that 33 people drowned off the Turkish coast this morning as they attempted to reach Lesbos island.

Leak reveals tense moments during Erdoğan-Juncker meeting (Today’s Zaman)

Previously: Ireland And The Turkey Refugee Facility

Hide And Seek

‘Greece Is A Scapegoat For The Disintegration Of The EU’

Pawns In The Game

H/T: Damian Mac Con Uladh



From top: Academics and students in a recent stand-off with police at Turkey’s Kocaeli University; and researchers Francis O’Connor and Semih Celik

Limerick researcher Francis O’Connor, along with friend and colleague Semih Celik, have co-written an article in Roar magazine about the recent arrest, detention and, in some cases, violence inflicted upon certain academics in Turkey.

The measures carried out by the Turkish authorities follow the signing of an open letter – by 1,128 professors, researchers and students from Turkey and around the world – calling for an end to state violence in the Kurdish region of south east Turkey.

Mr O’Connor and Mr Celik write:

Since August last year, the Turkish government has imposed intermittent open-ended military curfews on an array of Kurdish cities in its campaign against young militants in the YDG-H, which is linked to the PKK. These have been dramatically scaled up since mid-December, however, when a number of cities — most notably the Sur district of Diyarbakir, Cizre, Silwan, Şırnak and Silopi — were put under military siege.

In these cities, around 200,000 civilians are trapped in what remains of their houses, in some cases for up to 30 days — many without electricity, water or even food in some places. Injured civilians have been prevented from accessing medical attention and have subsequently died of their wounds. Families have been prevented from reclaiming the bodies of their loved ones.

According to the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, the civilian death toll as of January 8 is 162 civilians, including 32 children, 29 women and 24 victims over 60 years of age. These extensive sieges involve enormous deployments of soldiers and police officers encircling urban centers before targeting them with heavy artillery, oblivious to the presence of local residents.

In light of Turkey’s flagrant disregard for both its own laws and international human rights protocols, more than a thousand Kurdish and Turkish academics signed a letter declaring that they would not pay silent witness to the ongoing atrocities. They announced: “we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state.”

The letter further called for an immediate end to the curfew, the presence of international monitors in the affected districts and a restoration of the peace negotiations which Erdoğan deliberately scuppered in an effort to restore the AKP’s electoral dominance last summer.

In response to the call for an end to the violence, Erdoğan decried the signatories’ ignorance, accused them of favoring colonialism and ultimately of treason. In the immediate aftermath, state prosecutors initiated legal proceeding against all the original signatories of the declaration, charging them with “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” and “overtly insulting the Turkish nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Government of Republic of Turkey and the judicial organs of the state.” These charges can result in sentences of up to five years in prison. Twenty-two of the signatories have already been taken into custody.

In addition to these legal proceedings, the Council of Higher Education (Yükseköğretim Kurumuo, or YÖK) has vowed to take further punitive measures against the signatories. YÖK has demanded that Prof. Bülent Tanju from Abdullah Gül University in Kayseri resign, while individual university administrations — contrary to all legal protocols — have suspended or fired their own staff members, such as in the case of Professor Latife Akyüz in Düzce University.

In cities like Bolu and Kocaeli in northwestern Turkey, police have raided the houses of signatories. Incidentally YÖK was established by the military government in 1982 as a means to limit universities’ autonomy and restrict their capacity to serve as sources of opposition to the state.

In parallel to this blatant suppression of freedom of expression, a concerted media and political campaign is trying to further demonize the signatories. Turkey’s far-right MHP party has been to the forefront these efforts: one of its Istanbul deputies, İzzet Ulvi Yönter, declared that “the government should immediately take action and fight as it does in the districts of Sur, Cizre, Dargeçit and Silopi against the terrorists in universities.”

Meanwhile, other figures with links to fascist or Turkish nationalist organizations such as the criminal Sedat Peker have threatened: “at that moment, the bell will toll for you all … I would like to say it again: we will spill your blood and we will shower in it!

This cannot be dismissed as an idle threat. Turkey has a long and shameful history of murdering intellectuals, critical academics and journalists. Calls like these are seized upon by university students of extreme right-wing political organizations like the Grey Wolves, responding with insults and threats to the signatories, mostly by marking and sticking threatening letters on their office doors promising to “make the city hell” for their own professors.

Tonight, thousands of brave academics, journalists and activists across Turkey are anxiously awaiting a knock at the door — a knock that could potentially escort them to years in prison or add them to the tragic list of great minds murdered for views considered impermissible by the state. Similarly, tens of thousands of civilians are cowered down in the basements of Silopi, Cizre and Sur, parents attempting to lull hungry children to sleep while being bombarded by their own government.

Francis O’Connor is from Monagea, close to Newcastle West in Co. Limerick, and he has completed a PhD at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He has worked on the conflict in Turkey between the PKK and the Turkish state and is currently an external collaborator of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence. His research interests include social movements and political violence.

Semih Celik is from Istanbul and is a historian working on famines in 19th century Anatolia.

Academics for Peace: “enemies of the state” in Turkey (Roar magazine)


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RT reports:

“A Russian Su-24 fighter has been shot down in Syria, Russian Defense Ministry said, adding the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was at an altitude of 6,000 meters. The pilots managed to eject from the downed jet, the ministry said, adding their fate is as yet unknown.”

“Habertürk TV reporter on the scene said that the aircraft “turned into a fireball.” Numerous witnesses wrote on social media, saying thick plumes of smoke have been rising from the jet crash site.”

“…A Turkish military official told Reuters the jet was warned before being targeted. The official added that the plane was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter jets.”

Russian Su-24 fighter jet shot over Syria – Russian MoD (VIDEO) (RT)

Pic: Haaretz



One for older readers.

Will asks

Serious question. Why are we so reluctant to call the Armenian genocide a genocide? What have Turkey [peace-loving Ottoman Empire successor] got over us?


Ireland not recognising Armenian massacres as ‘genocide’ (Ronan McGreevy, Irish Times)

Armenia mass killing remembered 100 years on (BBC)