Earthquake destruction exacerbated by historical discrimination 

Migrants from the 2023 earthquake in Turkey and Syria will suffer at the hands of Greek policies to criminalize and push back people on the move
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An image of the horizon over the Aegean sea, towards Turkey where a massive earthquake has destroyed homes and will result in a new wave of migration to Greece

And suddenly one day you realize how easy it is for everything you’ve created in your life to be destroyed in a moment. Nothing is a given and everything is so fluid. That’s how I felt when I woke up the morning of 6 February 2023 and read the news about the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. An earthquake that happened just a few kilometers away in the land across the sea from ours. An earthquake that left tens of thousands dead and millions homeless. People lost everything: their families, their people, their possessions.

The epicentre of the earthquake occurred in historically Kurdish areas of Turkey and Syria, subject to colonial violence and discrimination. The way that Turkish buildings crumbled to dust was a testament to the lack of accountability and corruption in Turkish government offices leading to corner-cutting and poorly regulated building constructions. The Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, continued to bomb Syrian Kurdish regions even after the earthquake’s destruction. 

These communities are the future migrants; the exacerbated effects of the massive earthquake will force Turkish and Syrian migrants to board boats to cross the Aegean to Greece, on their way to Europe, and the Greek State will continue their illegal practice of pushbacks and criminalization of migration. This is not speculation, this is fact. 

On the other hand, human power shows in practice once again how quickly chains of solidarity can be built, and help is provided to each other. That is when we manage to break down the barriers between us, because all we care about is to support our neighbour, regardless of nation and race and without the mediation of states and the powerful.

We, as CPT Aegean Migrant Solidarity, pray that people in Turkey and Syria will soon be able to resurrect their lives and that the flame of solidarity between all people will continue to be kept alive.

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