Greece: 92 refugees found naked at border with Turkey
Ninety-two refugees were found naked after being forced to cross the Evros River, which separates Turkey from Greece, according to Athens, “an inhumane picture”, according to Greece’s civil defense minister on Sunday. The European border surveillance agency Frontex confirmed to the AFP news agency “the rescue of 92 migrants on Friday” with the help of the Greek authorities, said a spokeswoman, Paulina Bakula. “The (Frontex) agents reported that the migrants were found naked and some of them had visible injuries,” she added from Warsaw, the organization’s headquarters, while Athens assures that Ankara forced these people to undress, before they were deported to the Greek side of the border.
A “disgrace to civilization”
Greek Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos accused Turkey of “instrumentalising illegal immigration,” but Ankara denied any involvement in the poor and degrading treatment of these refugees. Greece must stop “manipulation and dishonesty,” Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli tweeted in English.
Most of these people, Syrians and Afghans, “described to Frontex agents that three Turkish army vehicles took them to Evros,” assured Takis Theodorikakos in an interview with the private television chain Skai. Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi called the incident a “disgrace to civilization” on Saturday.
The Aegean, a “cemetery”
Athens is regularly singled out by NGOs and various journalistic investigations for illegal and violent pushbacks at its sea and land borders with Turkey. But it has always denied resorting to this illegal practice.
At the end of September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece of turning the Aegean into a “cemetery” with “its repressive policy” on the United Nations platform. In response to Sunday’s incident, the NGO Mare Liberum took the view that “crimes against human rights are being committed systematically and daily in the Evros region by Turkey and Greece”. “If these crimes are publicly discussed by members of the government, it only serves to fuel the conflict between Greece and Turkey,” the NGO continues.
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