A group of illegal migrants intercepted near the Turkish-Bulgarian border yesterday claimed Bulgarian police beat them, stole their possessions and sent them back to the Turkey.
Thirteen migrants including Afghan and Pakistani nationals were discovered by gendarmerie troops patrolling the border in Kırklareli province in northwestern Turkey. The migrants told the troops that they infiltrated into Turkey two years ago from its eastern border and sought to cross into Europe via Bulgaria. They said a smuggler brought them to the border and they jumped over barb-wired fences into Bulgaria where the police caught them. They claimed police beat them and seized their possessions before forcing them to cross back into Turkey.
The incident is latest in a string of similar instances of "pushback" forced and illegal deportation of migrants to the countries they arrive from. Greece, another country bordering with Turkey, was also accused of pushing back migrants, based on the accounts of migrants found bruised on the Turkish border. "Pushback" is an illegal practice under international conventions and Greece never acknowledged whether its security forces were involved in pushing back the migrants or not. Turkish media outlets say Greece pushed back some 4,000 illegal immigrants last year. Based on the accounts of the illegally deported migrants, Greek police officers are also accused of confiscating valuable possessions of migrants and torturing them.