Lawyers' associations: Image of shame at Turkish-Greek border

Lawyers' associations from Turkey have commented on the situation on the Turkish-Greek border and have voiced concrete demands as to what needs to be done in view of the disastrous situation of refugees.

At the Turkish-Greek border, refugees continue to stay in the buffer zone between the two countries. Yesterday, a group of lawyers, including the chairpersons of the Istanbul, Antalya, Tekirdağ and Kırklareli bar associations, were prevented by Turkish security forces from inspecting the situation on the ground.

Lawyers' associations from Turkey have today issued a written statement on the situation and highlighted their demands on the issue. In the joint statement by the Contemporary Lawyers' Group, Contemporary Lawyers' Association, Lawyers for Democracy, Association of Lawyers for Freedom and the Foundation for Social and Legal Studies (TOHAV), the European Union, Greece and Turkey are held responsible for the "image of shame" created by the forcible returns to Turkey.

What must be done?

The statement says that the refugees are left to their fate. What must now be done is listed by the legal associations as follows:

Turkey, Greece and the EU must respect the right to life, human rights and freedoms of the refugees. They must take responsibility, identify and punish those responsible for the violations that have taken place and ensure that no further violations of the law are committed.

Turkey must lift the geographical reservation it makes in the Geneva Convention and provide security by recognising refugee status.

The repatriation agreement concluded between the EU and Turkey must be repealed and the asylum applications of refugees who have crossed the border must be accepted.

People and their right to life must not be misused for political ends. States must fulfil their obligation to respect a humane order, guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms and put them into practice.