35 Syrian refugees including women and children were deported from the TRNC to Turkey last Tuesday after they were arrested off the coast of Yeni Erenkoy two weeks ago.
It has been alleged that treatment by the police was brutal as the refugees tried to resist the efforts of police to put them onboard a ferry sailing to Mersin. It was said that physical force and even tear gas was used to quell the struggling refugees despite the fact that there were 5 children in the group. Officers reportedly tried to grab the crying and frightened children. Human Rights activists entered Gazi Magusa port and tried to help the refugees. The police are reported to have then attacked the activists.
The Ministery of the Interior for the TRNC stated that “The refugees were safely handed over to the relevant authorities in Turkey. They have been settled in a refugee camp”. They went on to say that this action was taken in an attempt to deter those people who wanted to make money from transporting refugees. It was said that alleged traffickers had received $2000 for each refugee.
It was reported by Ceren Goynuklu, Head of the Association for Refugee Rights, that she had been told by some of the refugees that there were Syrian agents in the Turkish Refugee camps and that Syrian refugees feared for their personal safety.
It is commonly reported that international laws regarding asylum seekers are not respected in North Cyprus. However, Turkey is subscribed to the UN Refugee Convention, the UN Convention against Torture and European Convention on Human Rights.