Greek authorities have once again beaten asylum-seekers before pushing them back illegally toward Turkish waters, the Turkish Defense Ministry stated on Saturday.
Turkish security forces rescued a total of 42 asylum-seekers pushed back by Greece.
In a Twitter post, the ministry said Greek personnel had beaten and held the asylum-seekers without food or water before attempting to illegally send them to Turkey after having taken their shoes, money and identification documents.
It added that Turkish security forces in the northwestern province of Edirne rescued the asylum-seekers at the Turkish-Greek border and handed them over to the provincial gendarmerie command.
In footage posted by the ministry, one of the asylum-seekers said they had crossed to Greece through the Uzunköprü district of Edirne two days ago.
"Greek police caught us ... After they caught us, they took off our pants and beat us. They didn't give us food and water for two days," he said.
He went on to recount: "They confiscated our money and IDs. They confiscated some of our friends' pants."
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for asylum-seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The Turkish coast guard rescued 12,655 people from the seas in 2020, 11,493 of whom were irregular migrants.
Turkey and human rights groups have 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, yet similar incidents keep occurring.
Numerous reports by journalists, researchers and witnesses have cataloged the way in which migrants and asylum-seekers have been forced back across the border to Turkey or left stranded in the Aegean Sea without aid by the Greek coast guard, despite the conservative government's denials in Athens.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) in March stated that reports from 2020 recorded multiple incidents in which Greek coast guard personnel, sometimes accompanied by armed masked men, intercepted, attacked, disabled and pushed back boats carrying migrants.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements that say people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life or safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership of a social or political group.