Refugees are now openly trafficked to Van (Wan) from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. In Van they are kept in covered barns for days on end, with very little food and water. From there they are transferred to western provinces.
Mezopotamya Agency has observed dozens of refugees in a barn awaiting transfer to other cities.
Refugees are picked up from places connected to the borders, like Çaldıran, Özalp, Saray and Başkale, and brought to the city in vehicles. They are then transferred to the districts of Erciş and Gevaş by road or to the Tatvan district of Bitlis by boat across Lake Van.
The refugees are placed in barns or empty houses in various neighbourhoods in the city, and kept waiting there for days with very little food and water.
The harsh conditions of the refugees are apparent from images recorded in the Hisar neighbourhood of İpekyolu district. Each morning in the early hours, refugees including women and children are picked up by lorry, bus, car and minibus from the barns where they are kept, and taken to Tatvan.
This human trafficking is conducted in broad daylight and witnessed by every citizen in the neighbourhood, but does not attract the attention of the police who patrol at all hours.
The citizens denounce the ill-treatment of the refugees they witness, and believe that the police are turning a blind eye to the situation.
The local people say that the refugees are given nothing but bread and water, and that even then they have to pay 10 Lira for a loaf of bread – four times the usual price.
It has been recently reported that a 21-year-old Syrian refugee who has been named as Ahmed Maslem, lost his life in a fire which broke out at Harmandalı Repatriation Centre in the western city of Izmir, believed to be caused by an electrical fault.
The Lawyers from Izmir Bar’s Migration and Asylum Commission state that they have repeatedly called for the repatriation centre to be opened up for inspection because there would certainly be deaths if it continued to be run in the same way.
Officially, Turkey hosts 3.5 million refugees, but with the addition of unregistered refugees the actual figure is estimated to be over 4 million.
The European Union is considering granting a further 3.5 billion euros to Turkey to continue hosting Syrian refugees until 2024. Turkey has been calling for the EU funds to be paid directly to the government in Ankara.
Officially, Turkey has already spent more than $40 billion on Syrian refugees. However, human rights defenders in the country have repeatedly asked the government where the EU funds for refugees have actually gone, since refugees are not receiving even the most basic services.