Camp at the Border – Dikili, Izmir, Turkey 25 August – 2 September 2008
25.Apr.08 – The holiday and skippers’ paradise of the Aegean Sea between Greek islands and the Turkish coast has made a name as a passage since the 1980ies. A lot of people escaped the repression of the Turkish military government during the 1980ies using this passage. As an outer border of the EU – sealing off the fortress Europe against unwanted migration, the area turns into a nightmare for people seeking to enter Europe. There are two main-routes for the people coming from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan or from Africa, especially from Somalia and Sudan: the route overland crosses the border between Turkey and Greece or Turkey and Bulgaria, the other one is the sea route, the Aegean coast.
The distance between the coast nearby İzmir and the Greek islands are only a few sea-miles. Especially during the winter months, migrants have been using this route between Turkey and Greece which takes one or two hours. The fisher und holiday villages Kuşadası, Seferihisar, Çeşme, Karaburun and Dikili are the places to embark on the insecure passage.
The Greek Coast watch executes the order to protect the EU-states’ interests of controlled migration of young, skilled, disciplined, but cheap labour. By all ways and means the coast watch tries to prevent any entry and landing at Greek territories: capsizing boats carrying “wrong load”, pulling boats back to the Turkish side of the sea border, exposing people at uninhabitable islands without water, indisposing boats to go on at the open sea, to prevent any return, physical abuse… Even firearms are used.
Unwanted Asylum-seekers are pushed from one side to the other by Greek and Turkish authorities. No side wants to be responsible for them. In towns like Izmir migrant waiting for a chance to leave for Europe have developed communities during the last years. In Greece unwanted Asylum-seekers are kept in custody and deported. In Turkey – in lack of any clear legal provision – they are kept in “Guesthouses for foreigners” for unclear time and have to wait until they are expelled, too.
Bad weather makes the transfer easier, preventing the landing being recognized by the local coast authorities. On the other hand bad weather means danger for the overloaded boats; some capsized boats are frequently mentioned in the news during wintertime. People often don’t know how to swim and are rescued by fishermen or Turkish coast guard. For some of them every aid is too late, local inhabitants often recover dead bodies at the beaches. Official sources talk about 82 dead and 102 missed in 2007, and 20 dead and 53 missed in 2006 in the Aegean district. fortresseurope.blogspot.com estimates 410 dead and 402 missed from 1994 up to now. These numbers must be considered as being only the peak of the iceberg.
The non-existence of any legal entry to Europe for Asylum-seekers produces a market of illegal transport facilities, a prospering business at the EU-borders. The closed borders have produced this market and the criminalising the market’s actors at the same time. Draconian penalties against – as the border regime calls it – “people trafficking” increases the prices for transportation on one hand, and makes the market more attractive on the other hand, as well as making a secure arrival at the aimed destination impossible.
Migration from areas which have become impoverished, plundered and unliveable through war and/or through electronic/textile/raw material production and disposals are one way to defy the world order. Our protest’s aim is to support the interests of the people who have decided to take this hard and dangerous path.
25th August – 2nd September No-border Camp in Dikili, Izmir
- exchange of experience and practical knowledge of persons concerned with, affected of, interested in migration and activists
- the focus question is, how to prevent more and more deaths at the borders
- to produce public awareness in Turkey and in Europe of the situation of the migrants
We are looking forward for your participation, co-operation and collaboration in work-shops. For feedback and questions: email@example.com
NO ONE IS ILLEGAL – WE ARE ALL MIGRANTS