tv Focus on Europe PBS July 23, 2016 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
claimed responsibility. our reporter gunnar kohne went to this dangerous region to find out more. gunnar: the city of gaziantep lies about 65 kilometers from the syrian border. since the war broke out in syria, hundreds of thousands of refugees have found sanctuary here. among them are many syrian journalists. one of them is a young reporter, who we'll call ahmad. he's been researching the brutal atrocities committed by the so-called islamic state.
he no longer feels safe in turkey and lives in hiding. after a long wait for an interview, we meet him in an empty playground on the edge of town: >> my family lived for a while in an is-controlled area. before they were able to flee, they were threatened repeatedly because of an article i wrote. then is started threatening me directly, writing that they would find me and kill me.... i can work from home, and i don't leave my apartment unless it's absolutely necessary. and i change address regularly. his fears are not unfounded. in mid-may, his colleague mohammad zahar al-shurgat was shot point-blank on this street corner in broad daylight. al-shurgat had also published material on the crimes committed by is in syria. >> it happened over there on the pavement. the gunman fled on foot. we were just sitting here in front of the shop. we get murders now, bomb
attacks, missiles coming over from syria, we've gotten used to it. gunnar: al-shurgat was the fourth syrian journalist to be murdered in turkish citiesnear the border. in mid-june, this man survived an attack but was severely wounded. each time, islamic state claimed responsibility. but not once has a suspect been arrested. how is it possible that this brutal terrorist organization can operate with impunity in turkey? we drive to the syrian border, accompanied by ali demirhan, a turkish hun rights activist. he has long been investigating the activities of is and other radical islamic groups in the border region. he says the border installations on the turkish side have been fortified, but they don't hinter the jihadists:
>> they climb over walls, crawl through tunnels or come across green areas that are not guarded. according to official statistics, between 500 and 1500 people cross the border illegally every day. >> the turkish border town of reyhanli is considered a stronghold of is and other radical islamic groups from syria. a monument pays tribute to 53 people killed in an is bomb attack. syrians are now in the majority in the town. no one is willing to talk to us about is. >> we know that there are groups here which help militant jihadists from syria with smuggling and getting in and out of the country. reyhanli is the jihadists' logistical centre. this is the hub where everything comes together from both sides is of the border. >> turkish human rights
activists also discovered this: syrian children working in a garment factory in turkey, making uniforms for the war back home. is fighters are reported to be among the customers. but asking questions about is here in the border area is clearly unwelcome. shortly after we started filming, we were stopped by plain clothes police officers and ordered to leave the town. but demirhan has more to show us. he takes us to a deportation centre for foreigners, some 30 kilometers from reyhanli. he says many foreign is fighters are held here - although rarely for longer than a few weeks. >> although they're suspected is terrorists, they just get deported after a short while to a third country without being charged. everything that happens in this deportation centre is secret. the turkish secret service is in charge here. we think it's basically a
transit centre for jihadists. >> we tried to talk to the governor of gaziantep about the centre and about the killing of syrian journalists in turkey. but our requests for an interview got no response. even turkey's chief state prosecutor views gaziantep as the headquarters of is in turkey. since the murder of his friend naji jerf, who was lured into an ambush despite taking precautions, ahmad no longer trusts the turkish state. >> we suspect that parts of the security apparatus in turkey are working together with is - but we can't prove it. corruption is very widespread in turkey's civil service. and because of the close proximity to syria, it's very tempting for some to try to make money from the war. >> could turkish officials have been accessories to murder in return for bribes? it's a serious accusation.
the murderers of ahmad's colleagues might still be in gaziantep. he's keen to get back into hiding before darkness falls. michelle we would like to : welcome our colleague gunnar koehne whose report on the plight of journalists in turkey we just saw. welcome to the program. you went to the border region. what was the atmosphere like? gunnar: we saw a lot of tensions among the syrian community, which lives along the border. they show all the political, ethnic, and religious conflicts that affect us in syria. many are made the violence spills over to turkey. for us personally, it was not easy to work in there because we were warned that the ins is capable of abducting western
foreigners from there and bringing them over to westerners syria. michelle: how dangerous are the terrorists for turkey? gunnar: the i.s. is very dangerous for turkey right now. numeral or deadly serving -- 4 deadly attacks happen in turkey, and for all of them, the ins -- the i.s. claimed responsibility. more than 200 people were killed. that shows that obviously turkey is an easy target for them. it is a neighboring country, a predominantly muslim country, but at the same time, a western hour like, a member of nato, so if they somehow managed to cause chaos in turkey, that would also have effects on the rest of europe. michelle: turkish security
forces are accused of working with the islamic state. did you find any evidence of this? gunnar: no, no evidence this time, but we have seen earlier, for example, loads of military goods crossing the border over to syria. we have seen other goods crossing over with clearly written on it the main city, the main base of the islamic state. also, the turkish opposition thinks that all this is suspicious. they suspect that the government is directly supporting jihadists groups in syria, but the turkish government reject that. michelle: the turkish people living in this border region, how are they dealing with it? gunnar: the mood is changing. they are more and more turning against syrian refugees in their neighborhood.
unfortunately, we have seen violent clashes, which mean syrians and turks in the region in the last days. michelle: thank you very much for coming in, sharing your thoughts with us. when the people of the united kingdom voted to leave the european union, it sent shockwaves throughout europe, especially in britain. the prime minister announced his resignation, making way for a new leader now to implement the momentous decision. but would this bring hope to the people who voted for brexit? we went to stoke on trent -- a city blighted by high unemployment, shuttered businesses and long-gone industry. its residents overwhelmingly voted to leave -- not as a snub to the eu but to show just how deeply dissatisfied they were with their own government. >> if only hope street lived up to its name. perhaps it did back in the days when stoke-on-trent was still properous. signs of the city's decline can be seen on the streets and on the faces of its residents.
at 70 years of age, bob is still washing windows -- 7 days a week. he can't live on his pension and he's very angry at the powers that be. bob feels eurosceptic party ukip is the only one taking his concerns seriously. >> our prime ministers and mps, local mps, should come here and look around and see what it's like -- instead of sitting in a lovely office. >> they don't look after you? >> no! no, and that's why we've all voted 'out'. but we've got the problem now with young'uns who are saying: the old'uns shouldn't have a vote; you're not thinking of our future. i voted for two reasons: keep people out, so my children and grandchildren will get a chance. >> comments like these are repeated up and down hope street -- for instance, at the local hairdresser's. >> when we get so many immigrants that are, too much is
too much. other countries can say the same. and i feel so sorry for them that they haven't got a country of their own. >> here they followed the 'leave' campaign's rallying cry that the ship is full, and foreigners are taking all the jobs and doctor's appointments -- even though few eu immigrants actually live in stoke. over 70 percent of the city's residents voted in favour of brexit. richard stubbs was one of them, even though he's lived abroad himself -- in germany and australia. but he feels his community has been neglected and his country is deeply divided. >> the wealth is so disproportionate these days between people at the bottom and people at the top, and the gap is just furthering apart. and it feels like the eu is part of that problem. >> sajid hashmi's office is located at the foot of hope
street, in an old potter's workshop. his charity, which provides support for volunteer and community groups, is funded by the eu. he no longer receives any money from london. hashmi says services all over stoke-on-trent have been slashed. >> a lot of the jobs were in the public sector: with the nhs, with the local authority, with the councils, with the police, fire [department] and so on -- and all of those have had cuts. and because all of those have had cuts, people who had jobs in those areas have all gone. and that's what makes it very, very difficult to comprehend -- that they've lost their jobs because of austerity and that austerity was imposed on stoke-on-trent by the central government. >> disused brick kilns and factories are reminders of better days. stoke's porcelain was once world famous. the ceramics industry employed tens of thousands, and made the city proud and affluent. but those days are long gone.
foreigners. yet hashmi is -- hashmi wants to show us what happens to people who've been written off and forgotten by government leaders. here he was recently attacked by an angry mob who shouted get out! we're no longer in the eu and can throw out you foreigners. yet hashmi is british. >> it seems that it's ok to be racist. it's ok to be prejudiced. it's ok to say things to other people which people would not have said before in public. >> what does it tell you about your country? >> it tells me that we're becoming intolerant. that we're losing the best thing we had, which was that we were welcoming, we were tolerant. >> attempts have been made to make neighbourhoods like this liveable again, but there aren't enough funds available to make much of a difference. lawrence poxton has a house and a job, yet he still voted to leave the eu. he shows us why -- behind this gate lie two pillows and blankets.
>> 18, 19-year old english, basically children, are living in the back of here. don't disown your own for the sake of somebody that's in romania or poland. eu immigrants have become scapegoats. the downtrodden masses used the brexit referendum as a protest vote. >> 72 percent voted in this election, in this referendum. stand up and be counted now. your votes in a general election basically don't count. in a referendum they do. >> stoke-on-trent was long a labour stronghold, but people here no longer feel the party has their interests at heart. they've bought into populist rhetoric that britain should close its borders and become master of its own destiny. >> the fact that 70 percent of the people that live here voted to leave just tells you how angry they are with the government. and they've just used this as an excuse to have a go at the government. so i don't think it was they
want to leave europe. it was they wanted to teach the government a lesson, saying you know: we've been ignored for so long. >> hashmi worries about the political vacuum that's developed in his country. he thinks people's hopes are bound to be dashed, because the brexit campaign was based on lies. and, when it comes to poverty, british leaders have looked the other way for so long it's unlikely that will change now. michelle: just how much would your life change if you were handed a thousand euros a month, no strings attached? the idea of a basic income is touching a nerve across all of europe amid a rise in poverty levels -- particularly since 2008's financial crisis. switzerland just held a referendum on it and finland plans to administer a basic income starting next year. in berlin, some lucky people are receiving an unconditional basic income in an experiment to find out just how well it could work.
>> lisa richter-reichhelm has always wanted to become a vet. she's doing her phd in veterinary medicine. that meant living on a reduced income of 400 euros a month. for a while that was ok, until she discovered she was pregnant. >> it was the first time that i wrote everything down, and started to look at where i could cut costs. i wondered if 14 euros a month for my cellphone contract was too much. it was the first time i realised how tight things were getting. >> worrying about how to make ends meet can be stressful to say the least. lisa considered giving up on her phd. but then in march she started receiving an unconditional basic income. 1000 euros a month for one year, no strings attached.
lisa won the money from the berlin association for basic income. the group collects donations on its website through crowdfunding -- which it then pays out for one year at 1000 euros a month. >> we use our wheel of fortune once or twice a month to determine a winner. every time we have 12,000 euros worth of donations, we spin the wheel and announce the winner online. >> amira and her team have now been able to award one year's basic income to 40 people. they see themselves as pioneers and hope to put the issue of unconditional basic income on the political agenda. >> it gives people a lot of freedom. once they no longer have to worry about how they're going to live, they're free to think about what they want to do. we'd like to see it introduced all over germany.
>> critics say a basic income would make people lazy. they could just lean back and relax in their welfare hammock and do nothing. but amira disagrees. >> people want to do something. they want to be useful, they want to have a sense of purpose and be active. >> lisa and her partner dario are certainly impressed. they both want to finish their phds before their basic income runs out next year. the cash injection came at just the right time, allowing them to focus on setting up their careers and having a family. michelle would free money lead : to people being lazy? what's your opinion? let us know what you think about that or any of today's stories by getting in touch on facebook, email or twitter. with its balmy climate and azure sea, it's no surprise that crimea is a popular destination for russian visitors.
and ever since the peninsula was annexed by russia, it's become even more appealing to russian germans unhappy with germany and its policies. in the post-communist 1990's, 2 million people moved from russia to germany hoping for a better life here. now, some are moving back -- claiming a greater connection to mother russia and president putin than to modern day germany. >> when viktoria karizki lived in the german industrial city of essen, hitting the beach after work was wishful thinking. but crimea's sunny black sea resorts have been the stuff of many a russian daydream. when russia annexed crimea, viktoria saw her chance. she made the move in late 20-15. she wouldn't have considered it, if crimea had still been part of ukraine.
>> at first, i wanted to go to russia, but when crimea held the referendum and decided to join russia, i wanted to come here. my husband thought i was joking , but i wasn't, and it was all so easy. >> everyone in feodosia on crimea's southern coast knows the family - especially angelina, their eldest daughter. they call her 'nemka!' - german girl! the karizkis are the first family to move here from germany, and not the other way around. to some it's a matter of pride. >> of course, it's a bit odd, but she speaks russian very well, so we hear interesting things about germany. >> and they say it's just not true that the sanctions on russia have left them languishing in misery. angelina has also met opponents of the annexation -- such as ukrainian olga minich. >> can i say this without being arrested? this business with russia isn't all that great. the prices have all gone up, and you can't say what you want any more.
>> i haven't been in crimea long, but i'm positively surprised. >> many volga germans see the annexation as crimea returning to the russian empire. it was part of russia until 1954. a group of volga germans is in sevastopol on a tour arranged by dmitri rempe resettler party -- widely considered to be pro-putin. they say they want to see crimea with their own eyes. they don't trust the media. >> we get our information from some news service or other media, so we wanted to see with our own eyes what's really going on here -- what's been happening both now and before. >> they watch a video made by pro-kremlin tv channel nts. 'no to europe; yes to russia', says a banner at a demonstration.
then come images of the better future for crimea that russian rule is supposed to bring. crimea already had a tiny volga german community. with dmitri rempel's support, its leader is promoting a rebirth of the crimea germans. he says about 15-hundred inquiries have come in - from volga germans who back russia's course and not germany's. >> some aren't satisfied with today's situation, especially concerning the refugees. and many can't accept the destruction of christian and family values, by which i mean primarily homosexuality. the geman schools are practically teaching it. >> russia's client government of crimea is also welcoming the return of the volga germans. >> that means the ice is broken.
the international community is starting to understand that what everybody's saying about the annexation of crimea being illegal just isn't so. >> these two volga germans were given a warm welcome by local authorities. willi sdor plans to make the move once his children have left home. he says many people he knows intend to do the same. he's handed their letters to the local government. he reads from one: >> we see no future for us in germany -- we feel like hostages here. everything's slipping away: our youth and family values. there's unemployment, drug use, and no financial security. the germans get everything: jobs, paid vacations, pensions, but we get nothing. viktoria karizki can afford a higher living standard in crimea -- a new car and a house -- but only because her husband still works in germany. she doesn't feel at home in germany, but she's not sure if she will in crimea.
>> the kids feel good here, and the weather's great, but i'm not 100-percent sure it was the right move. it takes time to understand everything and lose the rose-colored glasses. >> to some volga germans, crimea represents hope for a new beginning together with the security they may have once had. but the reality might turn out to be quite different. michelle: that's all for today. thank you for watching. gobye from me and the whole team. see you next time. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]