Sep 16, 2008

Nikos Deja Vu - Distortion of truth by the Turks (Afghan Illegal Immigrants)

A distortion of truth by a Turkish TV Channel:
Greek Coast Guard Fired At Turkish Boat That Saves Afghan Fugitives (!!!)

This Turkish TV Channel allegates and tones also:

"Merciless Nazi Greek Coast Security Forces left Afghan fugitives to death by threwing them to Aegean Sea and fired at helpful Turkish Coast Security Boat which saved Afghan fugitives.."

My "stupid" thoughts: First of all:

Well the truth is totally different

The Hellenic (Greek) Coast Guard was preventing a Turkish (pirate) cargo ship from entering in the Greek waters. When the pirate captain of this ship saw the Greek coast guard ships arriving, thowed the Afghans into the sea and tried to escape..

Read what BBC reports about this big problem:

BBC News UK Edition

Turkey's booming people trade

Pirate ship
Boats carrying illegal immigrants favour the long Greek and Italian coastlines

In one day Turkish authorities found the bodies of 24 illegal migrants. Among them were nine children, found frozen to death with the rest of their family on the mountainous Turkish-Iranian border.

On the same day five Pakistanis were found drowned on the shore of Turkey's Aegean coast.

The death toll has underlined that Turkey has become one of the main centres for human trafficking and the problem is growing.

At the centre of the trade is the country's largest city, Istanbul.

Among the swarms of tourists in the historical part of the city I met John, not his real name. He is from West Africa and has been involved in the trafficking people for the last five years.

He eventually hopes to earn enough money to secure a passage for him and his family to go to France. He says the business in smuggling is booming.

"They come from Africa, West Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and also northern Iraq," he said.

"They come to Turkey because Turkey is the easiest point to get to Europe. There are boats that go to Greece and Italy.

"They ask $1,500 for passage to Greece and to Italy $2,500. By land to Greece, they ask from $500 up to $1,750. They want to move to Europe because it is something like an El Dorado, it's a dream. Even for myself I feel Europe is a paradise."

Traffickers' web

The explosion in demand has been met with an equal growth in those ready to provide passage. John's job is to bring the migrants together with the smugglers.

He lists the different areas of the city where various nationalities congregate to find passage. "Sultanahmet Nigerians, Talabasi Bangladeshis and so on."

John deals with 15 different smuggling gangs operating in the city. Competition between the gangs is so stiff that the prices have now started to fall. Some smugglers now only expect to be paid if the migrant successfully enters Europe and payment is made by a third-party guarantor.

But John is quick to point out that failure to pay is out of the question. "These people are very dangerous, if you don't pay they will kill the guarantor, it is quite simple," he said.

Such a system is an indication of the confidence of the smugglers to deliver.

Professor Ahmet Icduygu has been studying the trade for more than a decade.

Istanbul is the gateway to Europe
Istanbul is the gateway to Europe

He says that between two thirds and three quarters of the boats get through to their destinations in Greece and Italy. The smugglers, he says, run an efficient operation.

"They are more organised than the state system. It's complicated and very diversified, there is no single way of doing it. They adapt very quickly to any action by the security forces. There are small groups operating around the world and they are in contact with one another all the time through mobile phones.

"A person who wants to leave Northern Iraq - within a week they will be in Berlin, London or Rome. Last summer I interviewed an Ethiopian woman captured by Turkish authorities in the Marmara Sea.

"She said she had missed the boat leaving the day before because she was sick. A week later she called me from Rome saying she had arrived with the smugglers. That means within a week there were three boats going to Italy."

Mobile phones allow the smugglers to remain in contact with their network across the world.

Along with Europe a small trade exists in smuggling to North America and Australia. According to police records one smuggler sold his mobile phone containing the directory of his contacts to another smuggler for $15,000.

Growing problem

In the last seven years the numbers arrested by Turkish authorities for illegal entry and exit has increased 900% from 11,000 in 1995 to 92,000 in 2001.

According to Professor Icduygu the growing numbers of migrants is putting an intolerable strain on the meagre resources of the Turkish security forces.

"They don't have the money to fight, and if they don't fight again this, criticism comes to them and it feeds the whole circle."

But the European Union is demanding more from Turkey. The EU's frustration with Turkey was most recently voiced by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He warned Turkey that it should do more to curtail the illegal migration.

Following that warning Turkish authorities intercepted a ferry carrying 250 migrants off Turkey's Mediterranean coast. One of the migrants was killed and five others wounded when the security forces opened fire.

The following day one of Turkey's main newspapers headline ran: "Blair warned us , we caught them."

Border controls

But Professor Icduygu argues that the European Union has to be prepared to pay if it wants the Turks to secure its long coastline and rugged land border.

He says the EU has so far refused to be forthcoming with financial assistance other than paying for a few training programmes and some computers.

"In the United States they spend $5.5bn every year to control their borders. At the same time , according to some estimates, up to five million people illegally enter the US."

Istanbul skyline
Illegal immigrants congregate in Istanbul

The explosion in the numbers of migrants caught started in 1995, the same year that EU countries started to tighten their visa requirements on would-be immigrants.

That is widely seen as driving many migrants into the hands of the smugglers.

Christopher, not his real name, is from Senegal. I met him in a small dirty hotel in the Aksaray district of Istanbul. The area is a popular waiting point for illegal migrants with its hundreds of cheap hotels.

He says that the tougher EU restrictions mean that the smugglers are the only way for him. "Without a visa you have to take the boat, there is no choice. We are forced into this.

"I had all the correct papers for my visa. But it was refused by the [French] Consul. They give no reason, they just refuse.

"So me and many friends have no choice. We are being forced into this, paying big money and taking big risks. I want to join my family and this is the only way into Europe."

1 comment:

  1. Turkish Coast Guard boat smuggling
    illegal immigrants into Greek territory
    Shocking new pictures of a Turkish Coast Guard (Turk Sahil Guvenlik) boat smuggling illegal immigrants into Greek territory, were revealed yesterday by the daily "Ethnos". The incident took place in August 19 in the vicinity of Cape Korakas located at the island of Lesvos, one of the easternmost Greek islands and raises serious questions on the role of the neighbouring country in the huge illegal immigration problem the Greek authorities are facing.

    A Greek Coastguard vessel on patrol originally spotted the Turkish boat in the vicinity of Cape Korakas well inside Greek waters ,carrying an unknown number of illegal immigrants .Footage published by "Ethnos" shows a man ( a member of the crew as it seems) throwing life jackets overboard for the soon to be castaways . The Greek CG crews are often called upon to rescue large numbers of desperate illegal immigrants that are thrown overboard by the modern day slave traders at the first sight of an approaching patrol boat . The short and costly (several thousand dollar) trip from the nearby coast does not always end with a hot cup of tea and a blanket in a Greek acceptance center as many unfortunate drown every year ,including children.

    The GC vessel intercepted the TGC boat ( a type Kaan 15 patrol boat) which started to perform evasive maneuvers and failed to respond to the continuing radio calls by the Greek patrol boat .The pursuit that followed lasted 15 minutes and ended with the Turkish intruder returning to Turkish territorial waters.The continuing waves of illegal immigrants have constrained the Greek Government to commence a costly program for the construction of new acceptance facilities in the eastern borders of the country as the already existing infrastructure has proven inadequate .It should be noted that the "Papandreou-Cem agreement" on the re-acceptance of illegal immigrants was never implemented by the Turkish side ,that refuses to cooperate . In a common effort to safeguard EU eastern sea borders and deal with a problem affecting the Union as a whole, common patrols with other EU member vessels (Italy) have been established in the areas of Lesvos and Samos .According to government officials last year alone a total of 112.000 illegal immigrants tried to enter the country, the large majority of which originated from the nearby coast of Asia Minor.

    The Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyanis issued a formal protest regarding the incident ,without any Turkish response so far.<