Violence against migrants by Greek forces continue

Violence against migrants by Greek forces continue


Greek forces continue to push irregular migrants, including women and children, into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.

The Turkish Defense Ministry shared a video of Greek Coast Guards pointing guns at refugees, battering and pushing them into Turkish territorial waters.

Footage captured at different times show that Greece’s forces brutally pushed back irregular migrants, including women and children.

The coast guards can be seen clearly in the footage, dragging migrants’ boats into Turkish territorial waters.

The Greek forces also used dangerous maneuvers and attempted to sink the migrant boat to prevent it from passing despite the announcements and warnings made by the Turkish side over the radio.

The footage also includes moments when Greek forces opened fire in the air and around the boat.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay on Nov. 21 slammed Greek forces after footage showed irregular migrants being pushed back.

“Humanity is once again trampled in the Aegean! Shame on you!” he wrote on Twitter, sharing the video.

Recalling his meeting with European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas on Nov. 20, Oktay wrote that he conveyed the expectation that Greece’s inhumane pushbacks are unacceptable and that Frontex and the Greek authorities must fulfill their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Turkish coast guard units rescued dozens of asylum seekers pushed back by Greek forces late on Nov. 22.

The units were dispatched to the area after reports regarding irregular migrants off the coast of Ayvacık district in Turkey’s northwestern province of Çanakkale.

A total of 40 asylum seekers were rescued from a rubber boat, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Held by Coast Guard Command personnel in Ayvacık for a while, the migrants were later sent to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Turkey 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.

There has been “mounting evidence” of pushbacks of asylum-seekers from Greece to Turkey recently, a United Nations human rights office spokesperson also said earlier last month.

The European Union authorities also voiced concern over migrant pushbacks, saying such incidents damage the bloc’s reputation.

Greece engages in provocative actions: Defense minister

Greece is engaging in “provocative, escalating and aggressive rhetoric and actions,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Nov. 22 and accused Greek authorities of “pushing back” migrants in the Aegean.

Addressing commanders at a video conference meeting, the minister emphasized that they closely follow the developments in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean region and said, “We are not in an aggressive attitude in any way. We are defending our rights there.”

Stating that Turkey carries out all its activities in a “reasonable, logical and calm manner,” Akar said: “While we are behaving in this way, Greece is engaging in provocative, escalating and aggressive rhetoric and actions.”

Greek officials are trying to create a “perception that ‘Greece is the victim, Turkey is the aggressor’ by using expressions as if Turkey has a move against Greece,” he said and blamed Athens for being “the aggressor and the expansionist” in its history.

Greek authorities made statements contrary to “history, law and daily life,” he said, adding, “There is talk of human rights, but it is a great crime against humanity and unscrupulousness that the Greek coast guard attempts to pierce and shoot the boats of defenseless people in the middle of the sea.”

In such an environment, it is not understandable, and not moral, legal and unrealistic to turn the events into offensive discourse against Turkey. This is pure hypocrisy,” Akar said.