First day of deportations to Turkey: report from Dikili

Lots of officials and politicians smiled in many cameras….

Today early in the morning at about 9am the two boats from Lesvos arrived in Dikili – several hours earlier than officially announced before. First the „Nazli Zale“ landed at the pier, the refugees were brought out one by one, escorted each by security. There was no way for resistance, it seemed to us.Lots of officials and politicians smiled in many cameras, as the international media presence was very high, although critical journalists were not allowed to register as one of them told us. Police was also prepared, with fence, helicopter and water cannon, but the maybe expected protest was unfortunately small.

The ship from Chios was last and the deported refugees had to wait for hours near the harbour until the other ships were emptied.

Later on some activists from Izmir and some locals were able to show their protest banners. Our own banner „Stop deportations. Open borders!“ was already removed by the police, who told us to follow them. Just because of the big media presence we were able to resist and to stay under the media’s protection.

Apart from two Syrian people (about whom it is said that they returned voluntarily) all deported refugees (136 from Lesvos and 66 from Chios) were from Algeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Not far away at the other side, at the pier of the Turkish Coastguard about 50 refugees were waiting for further proceeding. Their were picked up by the Coastguard early this morning, when their boat started drowning. They were mainly from Bangladesh and Pakistan and were transferred by busses to the Police Station (Jendarma). Because of the media presence today it was allowed to take fotographs and to watch the situation – this area normally is totally restricted.

In the morning it was still completely unclear where they want to bring the deported people from Lesbos and Chios – even the mayor of Dikili wasn’t informed yet, as one journalist told us – later we got the infos that all of them are transferred by busses now to a camp near the
Bulgarian border Kirklareli Gazi Osman Pasa near Edirne and they will soon all get deported to their different countries of origin. Some media followed the busses.
What will happen to the Syrians remained unclear to us.

Yesterday until the late evening at the central place of Dikili still many people took the chance to sign the call against refugees – they even call the refugees „terrorists“ – this nationalist initiative had a manifestation already two days ago and many shops here show this slogan in their front windows. Anyway we also were able to talk to several people here who are also upset about the EU deal with Turkey and the Turkish politics.