ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey on Tuesday deported 159 migrants from the Kurdistan Region and Iraq who were trying to enter Europe illegally through Greece.
“They [Greek border guards] took our bags and mobiles,” Rebar Ali, one of the deported Kurdish migrants, told Kurdistan 24 at the Ibrahim Khalil International Border Crossing.
“I started to defend migrants and asked them not to take our mobile and education degrees. The guard immediately hit me on the head with a stick, and this is the scar. They always talk about human rights, but their treatment of us did not appear as if we are human beings.”
Turkish treatment toward migrants was not any better than Greeks, according to Ali.
Many people in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq try to leave the country and immigrate to Europe. Their number has dramatically increased over the past years, namely after the emergence of the so-called Islamic State.
Sirwan Omar is another deported migrant who expressed his disappointment in his journey to Europe.
“Turkish guards were treating migrants equally. For them, there was no difference between men, women, and children. They were beating everyone. A child was crying; they were beating him, asking him why he was crying?” Omar told Kurdistan 24.
Turkey is the main passage Kurdish and Iraqi migrants use to enter Europe. Hundreds of people have died so far in the Aegean Sea after failed attempts to enter Greece illegally. Others have died from below-zero temperatures at the Turkey-Bulgarian border.
Hussein Khidir, another migrant, explained that after being jailed in Edirne, a Turkish province on the Greece border, they were only allowed out three times a day for 30 minutes each time. “Their treatment was very bad.”
Abid Khalid’s plans to migrate to Europe with eight of his family members failed after being deported back to the Kurdistan Region.
“Those who say there is [illegal] road, and it is easy to pass the borders, are lying. There is no road. I advise everyone not to take this path. They [smugglers] are all liars,” Khalid told Kurdistan 24 while waiting in the queue on the Kurdistan Region’s border crossing.
There are 350 more migrants from the Kurdistan Region and Iraq in Edirne prison, according to information obtained by Kurdistan 24 Correspondent Islam Yusuf from security sources.
“When Turkish border guards arrest migrants, they take them to Edirne prison,” Abdulwahab Mohammed Issa, Security Director of Ibrahim Khalil border crossings, told Kurdistan 24.
“They stay in that prison for up to three months. Later, they deport them back to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq,” he added.
Turkey is expected to deport dozens more migrants to Kurdistan in the coming weeks.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Islam Yusuf contributed to this report)