5 Years of Suffering under the EU-Turkey Deal

Since five years, the Greek islands hotspot islands have been transformed into open air prisons.

Since five years, people are locked up in degrading conditions in camps and prisons at the EU’s external borders.

Since five years, people are subjected to chain deportations and refoulement between Greece, Turkey and their countries of origin.

Since five years, people have been criminalized, detained and tried in courts, simply for crossing a border that anyone with a European passport can easily pass without a second thought.

Or in short: Since five years, the EU-Turkey deal has been operational.

But since five years, there has been resistance and a common international struggle against these racist and dehumanizing policies, and the struggle will continue!

Several analysis and texts have been published today, see e.g.:

Medico International: Der “Moria Komplex” – Verantwortungslosigkeit, Unzuständigkeit und Entrechtung fünf Jahre nach dem EU-Türkei Abkommen und der Einführung des Hotspot Systems

Legal Centre Lesvos: Five Years of Violence and Misery under the EU-Turkey Deal

Activists on Lesvos are calling for an international day of action

The 18th March 2021 is the EU-Turkey Deal’s 5th anniversary. Due to coronavirus restrictions and the heavily enforced lockdown in Lesvos our options to express our collective rage and resistance to this system seem limited. Nevertheless we want to show defiance against the European border regime, which murders and immiserates people on the move.
Therefore we want to create visibility in Mytilini (Lesvos) by putting remembering signs all over the city.
We invite you to join the action. Be creative, paint a stone with your message and leave traces on thursday the 18th of March in your city and neighborhood.

Agreed on the 18th March 2016, the EU-Turkey “deal” is a statement of cooperation between European states and the Turkish government which aimed to return people on the move arriving to the Greek Aegean islands to Turkey, paying the Turkish state to act as fortress Europe’s border guard. For the past five years this deal has imprisoned thousands of people in inhumane and dangerous living conditions on the Aegean ‘hotspot’ islands and put them at risk by forcing them to stay in Turkey.

Here on Lesvos we face the reality of this deal everyday. Over the past year, most people crossing the Aegean have been violently pushed back to Turkish waters by Greek authorities, with at least the complicity of Frontex. The people who manage to make the crossing, despite the brutality of the Hellenic coast guard and Frontex, are forced to live in camps like Moria 1+2 for years. We cannot see any political will to change this status quo. On the contrary, the ‘new’ EU Migration and Asylum Pact looks set to roll out the policies tested over the past 5 years in the laboratory of Lesvos across the EU’s external borders.

In addition we remember the political prisoners at that day. A link between these topics is easily found, as we declare the “hotspot islands” as open air prisons and the camps as prisons. Furthermore political resistance of refugees and supporters is criminalized. Investigation against different NGOs of sea rescue are the most public ones. At the same time people on the move get randomly arrested and show trials as in the case of the Moria 6 take place.

We stand against capitalism’s border imperialism.

We stand in solidarity with people on the move. Lets spread our signs against fortress Europe.

Lets fight for the freedom of movement!