Nearly 100 irregular migrants held across Turkey

By Ozgun Tiran and Mesut Varol

KIRKLARELI / VAN / MUGLA, Turkey (AA) – At least 97 irregular migrants were held across Turkey on Saturday, security sources said.

Some 60 irregular migrants — 53 Afghans, four Pakistanis, two Bangladeshis and a South African — were held by gendarmerie forces in the Tusba district of the eastern Van province, a source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Also, at least 10 irregular migrants were held by the Turkish Coast Guard in Bodrum city of Mugla province.

Among the rescued irregular migrants were Palestinian and Egyptian nationals.

Also, security forces held 27 migrants — all Afghan and Iraqi nationals — in Demirkoy and Kofcaz districts in the northwestern Kirklareli province.

All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration directorates.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

'Haftar's forces kill six irregular migrants in Libya'

            By Ali Semerci</p>  <p>  <p>TRIPOLI (AA) - Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on Tuesday accused forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar of killing irregular migrants.</p>  <p>  <p>Mustafa el-Mecei, the spokesman for the GNA's Burkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) military operation, told Anadolu Agency that Haftar's forces attacked a center for irregular migrants in southern Tripoli’s Qasr bin Ghashir district.</p>  <p>  <p>He said six irregular migrants were killed and 11 others were wounded, adding their nationalities were not clear because they did not possess any official documents.</p>  <p>  <p>He noted that the attack occurred outside of a GNA-controlled region and the GNA would deliver a report on the incident to the relevant parties. </p>  <p>  <p>Libya has remained beset by turmoil since long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising in 2011.</p>  <p>  <p>Since then, the country has seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, to which Haftar is affiliated, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN recognition. </p>  <p>*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas</p>  <p> 

10,000 irregular migrants held in Turkey this year

            By Ramazan Ercan</p>  <p>IZMIR (AA) - Some 10,000 irregular migrants were rounded up off Turkey's Aegean Sea coast in the last three months, security sources said.</p>  <p>Coast guard units held 5,729 migrants. Six migrants lost their lives due to drowning or hypothermia and 15 human smugglers were arrested.</p>  <p>Also, 3,919 migrants and 82 human smugglers were held by the land forces.</p>  <p>All of the migrants were later referred to provincial migration directorates.

Last year, 6,336 irregular migrants were held in Turkey.

Turkey has been the main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war.

Over 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

EU not taking responsibility for migrants: NGO

            By Busra Nur Bilgic</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - An aid ship belonging to a German humanitarian group, is still stranded in the Mediterranean and denied safe port from, the organization’s spokeswoman said on Thursday.</p>      <p>Denied docking rights from Malta, the Alan Kurdi -- named after a young Syrian boy drowned while trying to make it to Europe -- is still idling in international waters to the east of the island country, Carlotta Weibl, spokeswoman of Sea-Eye, told Anadolu Agency.</p>      <p>&quot;The situation on board is really tough. We still have 62 people on board plus 17 crew members and the boat is really not made for so many people,&quot; said Weibl, adding that two women had been evacuated due to medical reasons.</p>    <p>The Migrant Offshore Aid Station -- a non-governmental organization -- brought blankets and other apparel to the vessel’s passengers, who were allowed to restock the ship with water and food, Weibl said.  </p>    <p>While negotiations are ongoing between Germany and the rest of the EU to evenly distribute migrants across the bloc, Sea-Eye was not aware on the current state of the process, she added.

"We are very upset about the fact we are in the right and still we are treated as criminals.

  <p>&quot;These people are denied their human rights by politicians who are always so proud of our European values and human rights,&quot; said Weibl.</p>    <p> </p>  <p>- 'EU should not block and criminalize civil search and rescue'</p>      <p>EU countries need to establish legal escape routes and humanitarian visas for migrants and refugees so they would not need to enter the &quot;dangerous rubber boats in the first place.&quot;</p>    <p>&quot;But as long as that is not the case, they [EU states] should either adhere to their responsibility and do search and rescue in the Mediterranean and not source everything out to criminals and warlords in Libya,&quot; she added.</p>    <p>Stressing that it was illegal according to International Law to take migrants back to Libya, Weibl blasted EU members for &quot;blocking and criminalizing&quot; civil search and rescue</p>    <p>&quot;Currently they are not taking responsibility at all,&quot; she said.</p>    <p> </p>  <p>- Situation in Libya</p>  <p>The current crisis in Libya is likely to affect migration flows through central Mediterranean, according to Weibl.</p>  <p>&quot;MSF [Doctors Without Borders] confirms the fear that the migrants and refugees in Libyan detention camps are especially hard hit by the fighting. They cannot flee easily. Water and food provisions are disrupted even more and electricity fails,&quot; she said. </p>  <p>&quot;We cannot really prepare for it. We will try to get back into the SAR zone as quick as possible after this mission, but we cannot do much more than continue our usual work,&quot; she added.</p>  <p>On April 3, the ship rescued 64 irregular migrants, including 12 women, one child and one infant off the Libyan coast. According to a statement by Sea-Eye, Malta, Italy and Libya have denied the migrants from their territory.</p>  <p>More than 250 international non-governmental organizations -- including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders and Sea Watch -- wrote an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week asking for her support on changing the EU’s refugee policy regulations.</p>  <p>The organizations listed three requests from Merkel; an emergency action plan for refugee boats, safe harbors for refugees and no return to Libya.</p>      <p>Some 30,510 migrants died between 2014 and 2018 while making the treacherous journey to Europe, the UN agency reported in early January.</p><br>

IOM fret about migrants in Libya amid military action

             By Busra Nur Bilgic </p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday raised concern for detained migrants and civilians in Libya amid commander Haftar-led military campaign in the North African country.</p>  <p>IOM Director General António Vitorino dubbed Libya as an unsafe country for the migrants who tried and failed to reach Europe.</p>  <p>“The safety of migrants in detention is especially concerning should there be an escalation in military action. The fate of all Libyan civilians and the safety of humanitarian workers also remains an overriding concern,” Vitorino said in a statement.</p>  <p>On Thursday, Khalifa Haftar -- who is affiliated with a rival government based in the eastern city of Al-Bayda -- formally announced the launch of operations to seize control of the capital Tripoli.</p>  <p>According to UN, 1,073 migrants have returned to Libya after rescued at sea and placed in “arbitrary detention” in 2019 so far.</p>  <p>In 2018, more than 14,000 civilians were displaced and over 2,000 migrants caught up in fighting, the IOM noted.</p>  <p>Visiting Tripoli amid escalations, UN Secretary General António Guterres said migrants in detention are not only Libya’s responsibility but whole international community.</p>  <p>“I am deeply shocked and moved by the suffering and despair I have seen in the detention centre in Tripoli, where migrants and refugees are in detention for unlimited time and without any hope to regain their lives,” he said.</p>  <p>Earlier on Friday, Antonio Tajan, the president of European Parliament, said chaos and a new migration crisis must be avoided in Libya.</p>  <p>Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.</p>  <p>Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power: one in the eastern city of Al-Bayda, to which Haftar is linked, and another in Tripoli.

Ship hijacked by rescued migrants off Libyan coast

                By Mehtap Yilmaz, Senhan Bolelli</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Migrants on Wednesday hijacked a cargo ship Elhiblu 1, which rescued them off the coast of Libya, the Italian interior minister said.</p>    <p>&quot;These are not migrants in distress, they are pirates, they will only see Italy through a telescope,” Matteo Salvini said in a Twitter post.</p>    <p>“This is clearly a case of organized crime. Our ports remain closed,&quot; Salvini added.</p>    <p>The ship with 108 migrants on board is now sailing towards Malta, said Mediterranea Saving Humans, a non-governmental organization.</p>  <p>There were six-member crew -- including Turkish captain, four Indians and one Libyan -- in the 52-meter-long ship.</p>        <p>A warship belonging to the Libyan Coast Guard Command had moved to intervene in the hijacked ship.

Turkey rescues 55 irregular migrants in Aegean Sea

By Ferdi Uzun

AYDIN, Turkey (AA) – Turkish coast guard rescued 55 irregular migrants from a sinking rubber boat in the Aegean Sea off the country's southwestern coast on Saturday.
According to a statement by the Coastal Guard Command, the boat, carrying 52 Syrians, two Palestinians and a Saudi national, suffered engine failure before the rescue team reached them.
The migrants sailed off from the Turkish coastal province of Aydin heading for nearest Greek islands.
They were taken to the provincial migration management offices for further procedure.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

* Written by Ali Murat Alhas

Turkey: 456 irregular migrants held across country

                            By Esber Ayaydin, Cemal Asan, Hakan Mehmet Sahin</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - A total of 456 irregular migrants were held across Turkey on Monday, according to security sources.</p>  <p>The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in western Edirne province, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, security forces detained 192 migrants who were trying to cross into another country.</p>  <p>The migrants were Afghan, Algerian, Moroccan, Palestinian, Syrian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals, the sources said.</p>  <p>In western Izmir province, the coast guard detained 101 irregular migrants in two boats who were attempting to reach Greece.</p>  <p>They were Palestinian, Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi nationals.</p>  <p>In eastern Van province, gendarmerie forces detained 163 irregular migrants, according to a statement from the provincial gendarmerie command.</p>  <p>Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.</p>  <p>Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.</p>  <p>The migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi nationals. 

Ethiopian women brave hardships abroad to aid families

            By Sadik Kedir</p>  <p>ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - Faces cheering with genuine smiles, eyes pouring rays of joy, hearts longing for the motherland are what characterize this journey from Cairo to Addis Ababa.</p>  <p>&quot;We are enjoying our freedom,&quot; says Amelework Asnake who left Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia from the &quot;overwhelming poverty&quot; that she faced with her family when she lived in Bahirdar, a northern Ethiopian city.</p>  <p>There are over 100,000 Ethiopian migrant workers in Arab countries, according to a 2014 report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an international U.K.-based think-tank. According to the report, migrants often return home with frightening traumas.</p>  <p>&quot;I have five little brothers. My father is dead, so the whole responsibility comes down to me&quot; Asnake said, lamenting her mother's deteriorating health.</p>  <p>Asnake, 28, distinguished herself as a student with her high grades, though she was forced to drop out of high school due to her family’s predicament. </p>    <p>&quot;My dreams were big, but sometimes, your priorities might be reshuffled due to [difficult] situations and I prioritize my family,&quot; she avowed.</p>  <p>&quot;We are not frantic women or women without dreams, but braves who give [a] chance for young brothers’ and sisters’ dreams to come true,&quot; said another migrant in Dubai who requested not to be named.</p>  <p>With most being from the northern part, many Ethiopians are sacrificing their prime years in what may be seen as modern slavery.</p>  <p>&quot;[The] aspiration to work abroad is pervasive in Ethiopia,&quot; says Mohammed Ali Mussa, an expert on migration in Ethiopia.

He added that the main reason for this was high unemployment that pushed Ethiopians out of the country for jobs to support themselves and their loved ones.

One migrant worker, Semira Detemo who left Ethiopia for Bahrain, underlined that it was also critical to address basic human rights violations.

"Getting [a] proper meal might sometimes be just a dream," she said.

"They told me I will be teaching language there [Bahrain], but I was a mere housekeeper," lamented Detemo, who earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Addis Ababa University.

Mulu, who came back to her country from rural areas Lebanon after two and half years, shares a similar story as Detemo.

<p>She told Anadolu Agency her employers deprived her of her salary until she threatened to return to Ethiopia.</p>  <p>&quot;I only spoke to my family two times since I left Ethiopia,&quot; said Selamawit, who was among the women who made the arduous journey to Lebanon only to find herself in a job with an average monthly wage of $150 -- less than the minimum in most countries. </p>  <p>She said she could not bear to witness her parents’ &quot;continuous&quot; and &quot;unbearable&quot; struggle in the country's current economic climate, and so left home to help shoulder the burden. </p>  <p>Only a teenager when she left, Selamawit was eager to pursue her schooling in hopes that the situation in her country and family would be more favorable.</p>    <p>According to the ODI study, human trafficking and illegal employee agencies have long existed in Ethiopia. Women, in particular, leave the country through traffickers hoping for improved lives through work outside the country.</p>  <p>The study suggests that setting up rehabilitation centers, and opening employment options for those who are returning to Ethiopia could help mitigate the problem. </p>  <p>While some are indeed able to return, many are lost in the desert while trying to alleviate the difficulties faced by their families.</p>  <p>&quot;Let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services, and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone,&quot; UN Chief, Antonio Guterres was quoted as saying on his International Women's Day address.

Foreign students hail Turkey for hosting refugees

            By Busra Nur Bilgic </p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) – Foreign students studying in Turkey are praising the country’s efforts to care for refugees. </p>  <p>Vanesa Suarez, a 21-year-old Colombian student who has been studying journalism at Anadolu University in Eskisehir province under an exchange program, talked to Anadolu Agency following a seminar titled &quot;News on refugees: Agenda setting and role of media in creating public opinion&quot; organized as part of a European Union-funded project led by the International Labour Organization and Turkey’s Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services.</p>  <p>During her stay, Suarez said she has had the opportunity to observe how Turkey is handling the refugee crisis as a country hosting around 4 million.</p>  <p>She said Colombia is dealing with a large number of refugees from Venezuela and praised Turkey’s way of handling the crisis.</p>  <p>“Turkey did something good to show how to deal with refugees. In Colombia, we have sort of the same situation. This is why I am here. I want to learn. I think that this topic is really important because we are dealing with that,” she said. </p>  <p> “Turkey is much more experienced with refugees. There is much more planning. It is a lot more organized. In Colombia, it’s such a new topic. They don't know so much. This is what is different.</p>  <p>“But there are many things in common. For example, the way the media portrays refugees and migrants is really similar,” she added. </p>  <p>  Suarez said she had an unforgettable time in Cappadocia, located in Turkey’s Anatolian region, which has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its chimney rocks, hot air balloon trips, underground cities and boutique hotels carved into rocks. </p>  <p>“There are many things that are not even similar to Colombia. For example, Cappadocia, because there is nothing like Cappadocia, the story about that place. So these are my favorite things,” she said.</p>  <p>“I think the real challenge in Turkey is language, because not all Turkish people know English. For me, it has been really complicated to communicate. But in general, I really like Turkey. Even if people can't communicate with me, they try,” she added.

– ‘We should forget politics and show our humanity’

Another journalism student, 24-year-old Palestinian Abdelkader Abd Elhalim, said he has been interested in refugee studies and visited refugee camps in Jordan with different organizations.

“When I came to Turkey I realized there is some kind of problem of connecting Turkish people with Syrian refugees. And there are also false stereotypes about refugees, a lot of wrong information being published on social media and even in the news,” he said.

“But these things can happen when a country is hosting huge numbers of refugees. For example, I've never faced a racist incident in Turkey. So we should forget politics and show our humanity.”

Abd Elhalim has been living in Turkey for three years and is getting more comfortable with speaking Turkish.

“I have visited more than 20 different cities in Turkey and loved each one of them. Every city has its own culture and food and that is the main reason I love Turkey,” he said.

He also said he had an unforgettable memory from his trip to the Black Sea region.

While shopping with his family, someone asked where he was from.

When Abd Elhalim and his family went to pay for the things he bought, the cashier said the man who was talking to him had paid for them.

“I heard a lot about Turkish hospitality, but this was the moment I really felt that. It was like a ‘Welcome to Turkey’ moment for me.”