Press Release

Recent Developments on the Turkish Coast

“Pazarkule refugees" taken from quarantine camps to the coast

Published on:
April 13, 2020

On Friday, April 10th, Turkish authorities began moving refugees to the coast, close to the Aegean islands. Up until March 26th, all of them had previously been located at the Turkish/Greek border (Pazarkule/Kastanies) when they were taken to nine different locations around the country for a two-week quarantine period. 

We know of around 650 people who have been detained at Osmaniye camp for the past two weeks and were separated by nationality before being boarded onto buses late Friday night. No information was given to them regarding their future destination prior to arrival and no officials were present to accompany the people held on the buses. Approximately 350 Syrians were taken to a deportation prison in Izmir, 60 of the Iranian nationals to a room in Çanakkale and the other 250 Iranians were dropped off in Çanakkale and left to fend for themselves, with no food or water.


200 Syrians from a camp near Izmir were dropped off on the coast close to Behram in the same manner. After a few hours of wandering along the coast and sending out videos, police came to collect them again and brought them to Istanbul.

The people who had been detained in Bursa camp were released on Friday, free to go wherever they wanted to in Turkey, but without any assistance. 

The bus drivers recommended the people they dropped off on the coast buy rubber dinghies and attempt to cross the sea. 

On Monday, the group of 350 Syrians from the deportation prison in Izmir were released and dropped in the streets near to Izmir, without further information. 

The COVID-19 measures which are currently in place in Turkey have made it virtually impossible for them to move elsewhere. It has also become extremely difficult for NGOs and journalists to reach them at the various locations in order to provide help and report on the unfolding situation.    

The large majority of the 6000 people who were previously in Pazarkule/Edirne are still in quarantine camps as of now. Some of them, specifically those in Malatya camp, have been told they too will be taken to the coast in the next few days.


Natalie Gruber                          

+358 9 2316 0831