Teams of Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) on Tuesday rescued migrants that were battered by Greek soldiers and left half-naked in the Maritsa (Meriç) river in freezing cold weather.
The four migrants that were forcefully sent back to Turkey by the Maritsa river were rescued by AFAD teams after they were found stuck on a boat. One of the rescued migrants was half-naked, wet and about to freeze to death.
The rescued migrants thanked the Turkish teams after being sent to a hospital for treatment. Following their treatment, they were sent to the provincial migration directorate in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province.
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives.
Turkey, several human rights groups as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law, and the EU for turning a blind eye to what is said to be a blatant abuse of human rights.
Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which 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.
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.