In a renewed violation of human rights, the Greek coast guard has thrown three migrants into the sea in the Aegean, which resulted in one of the victim's death, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said late Monday.
In a Twitter post, Soylu said that following the incident off the coast of the Çeşme district in Turkey’s Izmir province, two of the migrants were rescued while the other one had died.
He added that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) "must also be held accountable."
Soylu also shared footage of one of the rescued migrants.
One of the migrants said Greek police took their mobile phones and money, and even though one of his relatives said he did not know how to swim, the Greek coast guard threw all of them into the sea.
"The Greek coast guard gave us lifejackets before they left us in the sea, but they were for children and too small. They did not fit on us. My cousin said he did not know how to swim. But they didn't listen to him. They threw us into the water, and he drowned there," he said.
"His last words were: 'I can't swim! I don't know how to swim!'"
The migrants said that after they reached an island by swimming, the Turkish Coast Guard Command arrived and rescued them.
Recent months have seen multiple reports of Greek forces illegally pushing back boats of asylum-seekers, endangering the passengers in the process.
Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
Turkey's five Aegean provinces – Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Izmir, Muğla and Aydın – are prime spots for refugees leaving Turkey for the European Union, with Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.
In recent years, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean in a bid to reach Northern and Western Europe in search of a better life.
Hundreds of people have died at sea as a number of boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without migrants being given access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which dictate that people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a social or political group.