About the migration route / Wire-mesh fences along the European border as of November 2015

The itinerary which connects Turkey to the European Union (EU) has been in use for many years by refugees and migrants who come from Asia, the Middle East, Somalian peninsula, North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The land route passes through northwestern Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria, while the sea route goes from Turkey‘ s Aegean shores to the Greek islands. Up until 2010, a large part of migrants and refugees strived to cross the Aegean Sea on small boats and reach Greece. However, this route changed this year and shifted towards the region around the Evros River, which constitutes the Greece-Turkey land border. One reason for this shift was increased sea patrol by Greek coastal guards with the support of Frontex (European Border Agency), and another reason was the Greek government‘s clearing of anti-personnel mines which used to lay along the land border, thus making the said itinerary less dangerous for refugees willing to leave Turkey on foot. However, in mid-August 2012, Greece placed a 10.5- km long wire-mesh fence along the northern section of the said land border where crossing occurs more frequently. On the other hand, the number of migrants arrested on the Greek islands or in the Aegean Sea has went from 169 in 2012 to 3,265 in 2013. In 2013, there were 1,109 irregular entrances from Turkey to Greece on land versus 11,447 by sea. The number of individuals trying to pass from Turkey to Greece by sea continued to increase in 2014 as 43,518 refugees and migrants succeeded in reaching the Greek islands. There were 1,903 illegal entrances to Greece by land. According to data from UNHCR, 416,245 individuals have reached the Greek islands as of October 5, 2015. 97% of these individuals come from the countries who send the highest number of refugees with 70% hailing from Syria.


Wire-mesh fences along the European border as of November 2015

States have the right to control their borders; however, they must comply with international liabilities for human rights. Measures for border protection should not prevent refugees from reaching a safe place and seeking asylum. European leaders‘ emphasis on the prevention of irregular migration raises visible and invisible borders around the EU. Although EU member states have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, they seem to do almost everything possible to avoid taking any responsibility or making any commitment about the refugees of the world and to prevent them from entering their area of jurisdiction.