Ankara criticized recent reports on the inhumane treatment and pushbacks by European Union countries against irregular migrants and asylum-seekers at sea.
Taking to Twitter, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın referred to reports by European media on the death of at least 2,000 people due to pushback policies of EU member states during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"But this story would not make it to the headlines in Europe," he said.
"Humanity will continue to die with every life lost for nothing," Kalın wrote.
EU member states were involved in pushing back some 40,000 migrants and refugees into Turkish waters, resulting in the deaths of over 2,000 individuals during the pandemic, according to an investigation by the Guardian this week.
The report noted that EU countries and their border agency Frontex systematically pushed back irregular migrants, including children, “using illegal tactics ranging from assault to brutality during detention or transportation.”
In recent years, 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 access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It has also accused the EU of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements that say people shouldn’t 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. Such actions prevent asylum-seekers from making claims for refugee status, and if practiced indiscriminately against a group of migrants it can constitute refoulement – a violation of EU human rights laws and the 1951 Geneva Convention.
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