Bodies of migrants pushed back by Greece recovered at border: Minister
Turkey’s interior minister said yesterday that authorities have recovered 12 bodies, believed to be those of migrants who froze to death after being pushed back into Turkey, near Turkey’s border with Greece.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Twitter that the 12 were among 22 migrants who were pushed back into Turkey by Greek border guards.
He said they were found near the İpsala border crossing between Turkey and Greece “without shoes and stripped of their clothes.”
The blurred photos shared by the minister show migrants frozen to death lying on the snow.
The minister did not provide further details but accused Greek border units of acting “cruelly” and the European Union of being soft on Greece.
“The EU is remediless, weak and void of humane feelings. Greek border units thug against victims; tolerant towards FETÖ,” Soylu said, referring to the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.
Turkey frequently accuses neighboring Greece of illegally pushing back migrants wanting to make their way into Europe and being a safe haven for the members of FETÖ.
On Feb. 1, Soylu had slammed Greek authorities, claiming that they threw three migrants into the Aegean Sea, which resulted in one of the victims’ death.
He also noted that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex “must be held accountable.”
Turkey is a major crossing point for migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa seeking a better life in European Union countries.
The officials and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.