Nov 29-30, 2017

Here's your mid-week brief covering the recent migration and refugee related developments in and around Turkey (Nov 29-30)
By Y. Emre Küçükkaya

-EU official: Visa-free travel for Turkish citizens is near (Daily Sabah): European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said Monday that the visa-free deal for Turkish citizens is nearly ready and the bloc is closely working with Ankara to solve remaining issues. "We want to herald in the visa-free deal for Turkish citizens soon. I am the person responsible for this process. We are near the end," he said at the 8th Bosporus Summit in Istanbul.

-257 undocumented migrants held across Turkey (Anatolian Agency): In the southern province of Adana, 72 undocumented foreigners including 25 Afghan, 22 Pakistani, 20 Syrian, three Bangladeshi and two Nigerian nationals, were held by the police.

- Some 1.1M refugees in Turkey receive charity debit cards assistance (Daily Sabah): "So far, we have received applications from 1.8 million Syrians and other refugees," Nils Grede, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) country director and representative, told Anadolu Agency in a recent interview in the Turkish capital. "Close to 1.1 million are receiving assistance. 700,000 people have been found not eligible," he said.

-Turkey threatens to scrap refugee deal over Kurdish role in Syria peace talks (Arab News): Turkish Premier Binali Yildirim warned on Monday that Turkey could scrap its 2013 refugee deal with the EU if Syrian Kurdish militias are allowed to participate in Syria peace talks.

-UC Irvine student spearheads first student-funded scholarship for refugees and asylum seekers (Los Angeles Times): An encounter with Syrian refugees during a family trip to Turkey in 2014 inspired a UC Irvine senior to create the University of California’s first student-funded scholarship program for refugees and asylum seekers. Iman Siddiqi, 20, raised a little over $93,000 for the program this month during a banquet at UCI.

-From Turkish Farm Camps to Greek Government Camps: The Harsh Reality of Syrian Refugees : An aid NGO, Helping Hand, compares refugee lives in Turkey and Greece and argues that the conditions in the latter are relatively much better.

-Antalya: UN launches new initiative to empower and train young leaders in Global South (  A new UN partnership that will empower young leaders in the Global South to become agents of change was launched Tuesday during the Global South-South Development Expo 2017 in Antalya, Turkey.

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