Migrants confined, deprived of sufficient food in Turkey's coastal town
Migrants, mostly under 18, are regularly being kept in confinement in a coastal district of Izmir in Turkey before they are taken to a repatriation center, Duvar's Nuray Pehlivan reported on Tuesday.
Her report revealed that the migrants who have been pushed back to Turkish territory by Greek Coast Guard are brought in large groups to the district of Karaburun, and are treated like prisoners as they are kept in a building that was formerly used by the municipal administration to hold wedding receptions.
The number of confined migrants vary between 100 and 350, and they are kept in the building for three to 15 days till they are transferred to the repatriation center, Pehlivan said.
What is particularly alarming about the situation is the restrictions on the migrants' ability to access food.
The authorities pay a meager sum of 10 Turkish Liras (about 50 cents) per meal to a cafeteria who in return provides a bowl of soup in the mornings and two small sandwiches later.
A guard who spoke on condition of anonymity told Pehlivan:
"There are currently 100 migrants inside. This is the first time I've seen so many young children. These Palestinian children have not arrived here with their families. Sometimes the number of migrants here can reach 350. At least three thousand, maybe four thousands migrants have been brought here in the last seven months. We are sending them to Harmandali Repatriation Center after they've stayed for a while (...) Generally they stay for three or four days, but nowadays they are staying for up to 15 days because the repatriation center in Izmir is overcrowded."
Asked if the living conditions can be improved, the guard replied:
"If we do that, it will be too comfortable. If you improve the conditions, it means you are virtually encouraging the migrants to stay here. They are dreaming of escape and setting up a new life in Europe, but if you treat them well, with no beating, providing good living conditions, they will want to live here. They shouldn't be provided a comfortable life."