<center>Finding abuses on both sides of the Greek-Turkish border <br><i>by</i><br> BILL FRELICK*</center>
Finding abuses on both sides of theGreek-Turkish border
28 November 2008, Friday / ,0
Our Human Rights Watch team didn't go to Turkey seeking to find human rights abuses here. But wecouldn't ignore what we found.
We had been in Greece investigating police abuses against asylum seekers and migrants trying toenter the European Union. We documented systematic roundups of migrants in the border region withTurkey and secret police expulsions of migrants across the Meriç River. Migrants told us that coastguard officials push migrants from Greek territorial waters, sometimes puncturing inflatable boats.We decided to interview migrants in Turkey who had forcibly been pushed back by the Greek police.The Turkish police allowed us to visit immigration detention facilities at Edirne and K
rklareli. Our teaminterviewed 38 detainees privately, and we did, indeed, gather deeply disturbing testimonies aboutGreek abuses, the subject of a report we issued Wednesday in Athens.But we also saw equally disturbing detention conditions in Turkey.At the Tunca detention facility at Edirne, we stood at a padlocked iron door, peered into the darknessand saw a human sea -- 400 men crammed into a single large room. There was no space betweenthem; they sat shoulder-to-shoulder both along the walls and in the room's interior. Many had not leftthis room for months.All the men were dirty and smelled foul. Some appeared quite ill. Others who came forward hadhideous skin infections and rashes. We saw some men whose torsos and faces were completelycovered with open sores. Those crowding against the bars of the door called out: "There is beatinghere," "The food is bad," "I was slapped in the face," "How long must we stay here?" and "People aresleeping in the toilet."One man said, "You have to step on top of other people to go to the toilet."There are no guards posted inside the closed rooms. An African detainee told us that the detaineesoften fight among themselves but if the fighting escalates "the guards will come and beat us. They
(1 of 4) [7/28/2011 3:37:05 PM]