Afghan refugees accuse Turkey of violent illegal pushbacks

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Thursday, October 14, 2021
Afghan refugees accuse Turkey of violent illegal pushbacks

the guardian.com|14 October 2021|

Afghan refugees accuse Turkey of violent illegal pushbacks

As the sun sets over a dusty ravine on the outskirts of Van city in eastern Turkey, Muhammdullah Sangeen and dozens of other Afghans are preparing for another night sleeping rough.

The 22-year-old, who has a bruised left eye and fresh cuts all over his arms, arrived from Iran a few days earlier with the help of smugglers. “I am not OK,” said Sangeen, his legs trembling. “I’m not feeling human.”

Sangeen, who fought the Taliban during five years as a soldier in the Afghan national army, says that in the past month he crossed the Turkey-Iran border, about 50 miles to the east of Van, on three other occasions.

Each time, Turkish border forces caught him and deported him back to Iran, he says. He claims he was often tortured in the process.Violent “pushbacks” against refugees have surged in eastern Turkey in the months since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, according to an investigation by the Guardian involving interviews with several pushback victims, human rights lawyers working in the region and independent observers.

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