Turkey rescues 5,693 irregular migrants in 1st half of 2021
According to figures released by Turkish Coast Guard, 4,670 were pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greece were rescued between January and June. Coast Guard teams also rushed to the aid of the 1,023 others who were stranded due to engine failure, collisions with rocks, or leaking in water while trying to cross the sea.
In addition to rescue operations, the teams caught 1,243 irregular migrants in the first half of 2021. The largest number of rescue operations for irregular migrants, who were pushed back or stranded, were held in İzmir.
Between January 2020 and March 2021, the U.N. documented 300 reported incidents of illegal expulsions around the Aegean islands and Greece’s northeastern Evros land border with Turkey.
Several migrant support groups in May filed a complaint at the European Court of Justice against Frontex, the EU’s border monitoring agency.
A top EU official has told the BBC that the Greek government must stop the illegal deportation of migrants arriving on the country’s borders.
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansonn, said that the “very well founded” reports of ‘pushbacks’ at sea and on land were “violations of fundamental European values.”
Asked about the issue earlier this month, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Kathimerini daily: “I reject the concept of pushbacks... this word does not exist in my vocabulary.”