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Turkey must release detained asylum seekers and stop sending them back to Syria

01/12/2015

Turkey must release detained asylum seekers and stop sending them back to Syria

Time

Following mass arrests of refugees in Turkey, GUE/NGL MEPs are calling on Turkey to release all detained asylum-seekers and to stop their current practice of 'push-backs' to Syria.

On Monday, Turkish authorities arrested 1,300 refugees that they claimed were hiding near the sea waiting to embark on boats to the Greek islands. These refugees are currently detained amidst concerns from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that some will be deported, including back to Syria.

There can be no coincidence that this large operation took place one day after the EU-Turkey Summit where the main aim was for the EU to stop asylum-seekers from reaching Europe.

GUE/NGL Coordinator in the European Parliament's LIBE Committee, Cornelia Ernst, remarked: “European leaders should be ashamed that more than two years after the Lampedusa tragedy in October 2013, the Council is still discussing how to fight off asylum seekers who are trying to enter the EU. There are still no proposals on the table to create safe and legal pathways for migrants and asylum-seekers. It is still about voluntary schemes with nice words, but no commitments to follow-up."

“On top of that, I am appalled that the situation of fundamental rights and the freedom of the press were not even on the agenda at the EU-Turkey Summit. This is an outrage for a summit with a country that is, after all, a candidate for accession to the EU,” added Ernst.

GUE/NGL Coordinator DROI Committee, Marie-Christine Vergiat, also commented: "Since July, and especially following the national election in November, the human rights situation in Turkey has deteriorated. The number of political assassinations has increased, as we have just seen in the example of Tahir Elçir. It is astounding that this has not had even the slightest impact on relations between the EU and Turkey. Single-mindedly obsessed with the question of migration, the EU has written off all other concerns, including the rights of refugees and migrants."

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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