The Greek coast guard pushed a group of migrants and refugees, including children, on a rubber boat toward Turkish waters and abandoned them in the middle of the Aegean Sea, according to footage obtained by security forces.
The Greek units forcefully transferred the migrants who had entered Greece to a rubber boat and left them after they arrived on the southern edge of the island of Lesbos without advance authorization.
The Turkish Naval Forces Command (DzKK) recorded the incident during reconnaissance and surveillance missions in the Aegean Sea. They rescued the migrants and refugees, who were on the brink of death due to the rough conditions of the open sea, and transferred them to shore.
Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey accused Greece of inhumane treatment of migrants, large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. It also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.
In October, nearly 30 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) called on Greece to open an "urgent inquiry" into allegations that it was systematically pushing migrants back toward Turkey.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Greece of summarily returning migrants across Turkish land and sea borders, citing interviews with asylum-seekers. Other rights groups and refugee organizations, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have repeatedly called on Greece to investigate what they say are credible reports and testimony of expulsions.
The Turkish coast guard said it rescued over 300 migrants “pushed back by Greek elements to Turkish waters” in September alone.
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