Turkey, Europe

Greece ‘pushing innocent people to death’: Turkey

Interior minister criticizes Europe for keeping silent in face of Greece’s pushbacks of asylum seekers

Cankut Tasdan   | 07.01.2021
Greece ‘pushing innocent people to death’: Turkey

ANKARA

Turkey’s interior minister on Thursday accused Greece and the EU of putting people’s lives in danger, releasing footage showing the Greek Coast Guard pushing asylum seekers towards Turkey.

“Greece is still pushing innocent people to death and Europe is just watching… Turkish Coast Guard Forces are saving lives,” Suleyman Soylu wrote on Twitter in English.

“We strongly condemn @Frontex and @Europarl_EN for ignoring this inhuman treatment that stands every day @nmitarakis,” Soylu said, attaching footage showing an inflatable boat of asylum seekers pushed by the Greek Coast Guard.

The video recording also showed one of the asylum seekers who recounted how they were pushed by the Greek forces towards Turkey and later rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.

Turkish teams conduct rescue operations for asylum seekers almost daily in the Aegean Sea.

Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying that it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable people, including women and children.

Last November, European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly opened an investigation into EU border agency Frontex following reports that the EU border agency is supporting Greece to push asylum seekers back to the open sea.

The EU observer had also reported that Greece ordered its coast guard to push asylum seekers to Turkish territorial waters, according to a string of emails exchanged between Frontex and the Greek Coast Guard.

“A redacted chain email from the EU’s border agency, Frontex, made available following a freedom of information request, clearly shows that the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) received orders to push migrants back into Turkish territorial waters,” read the report.

Greece ‘pushing innocent people to death’: Turkey

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