Athens, April 11, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Friday, April 8, at the port of Dikili in Turkey, there is a disproportionate commotion for the season. Police patrol cars and motorcycles, ambulances and numbered buses pass the fenced area that cuts off the side of the harbor that will greet the readmitted migrants. It is the second time in the last ten days that the port is so busy.
At the edge of the port, perched cameras and photojournalists await the arrival of two ships that started from Lesbos. Everyone wants the best position. Turkish, British, German and Arab media wait to capture the moments. We are informed that access to the interior is closed to journalists by order of the competent authorities. The decision was taken yesterday. It is a safety issue.
Together with journalists there are ordinary people who are climbing where they can to have a better view. View of the people, who after labors and sufferings to reach European soil, the only thing they managed to do is to return to their homeland. The anxiety, the sacrifices and suffering of these people is becoming spectacle. A spectacle which sells.
In the background appears the first ship, accompanied by a speedboat of the Turkish coastguard. It approaching the jetty and drops anchor. Turkish policemen and officials board it for the identification and transfer of migrants. Time passes and slowly they are transported to the tents that have been set up to pass a second check and wait for transport.
With an escort of police and medical staff, they are transported one by one. Once the transfer is over the other ship arrives. The same process again. The faces of the immigrants sad. They all look down. Among them a woman, accompanied by a woman. 123 migrants were transferred from Greece to Turkey, based on the March agreement between Turkey and the EU, while at the same day 97 others were transferred from Greece to Turkey via the bridge at “Kipi” in Evros.
All of them will be transferred to Kirklareli, in European Turkey near the border with Bulgaria. There are no ready accommodation structures, Turkish sources inform us. The immigrants stay time will be about two weeks. Then they will be send back to their home countries by plane, leaving unfulfilled their dream for a life in Europe.
Some of them will try again, most will try to get on with their lives, trying to leave behind what they went through.
The readmission progresses slowly. The Turkish authorities that had prepared the space in Dikili with over 1000 employees, experienced in such situations, waited more than 2500 immigrants but so far in two operations came less than 400.
Authorities in Greece failed to inform promptly all immigrants-refugees that if they made an application for asylum, they would not be able to transport them to Turkey for at least 15 days. That’s how long the Greek authorities need to examine asylum applications and the appeals that would occur until the final decision.
As such, the programming collapsed and only a few who did not apply were send back. Anyway, it is difficult to accommodate, provide healthcare, to Identify and examine the asylum applications in scattered accommodation centers, with the EU nonexistent and the support staff of 2500 yet to arrive.
Europe, in an arrempt to renounce its responsibilities, leaves Greece almost alone to fend with the financial crisis, to have its organizational structures and economic potential tested. Fortunately, the solidarity of ordinary people has helped significantly those people who have been uprooted from their homes.
The buses took the road to the North of European Turkey, accompanied by a police car and a car of the Jandarma, while throughout the route one could see the presence of these two services at nodal intersections of the road from where the immigrants would pass. The dream was over.
Photo: Spiros Sideris/IBNA