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Turkey Urges Greece to Halt Pushback of Irregular Migrants

Published : 30-10-2019

Turkey Urges Greece to Halt Pushback of Irregular Migrants

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Sunday called on Greece's new government to end the illegal practice of "pushback" of irregular migrants over the Turkish border.

In response, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis denied the claims on Tuesday, saying that Ankara should be “more cautious when referring to Greece”. 

"Although Greece denies the fact that irregular migrants are pushed back into our country by Greek authorities, the pushback of irregular migrants carried out by Greek officials on our border continues both at sea and on land," the Turkish ministry said in a statement.

In the first 10 month of 2019, 25,404 irregular migrants were pushed back into Turkey by Greece, the ministry said, a significant increase from the 11,867 migrants pushed back in 2018.

In interviews with these migrants, Turkish authorities have learned that, in many instances, the migrants' personal belongings were confiscated and they were subjected to unacceptable treatment, such as beatings, before being pushed back to Turkey by Greek officials.

"We have all kinds of images, photographs, documents and statements of returned people regarding the pushback practices of Greek officials," the ministry said.

The ministry noted that the pushback practices, which are contrary to international law, have also been recorded in reports by the Council of Europe. The council has called on Greece to suspend and investigate these practices, the statement added.

"We invite the new Greek government to work to correct this policy, which is contrary to international law, rather than to deny the pushback cases identified by the Council of Europe, which has all the information and documents that we have," the ministry concluded.

Under international laws and conventions, Greece is obliged to register any illegal migrants entering its territory; yet, this is not the case for thousands of migrants who were forcibly returned to Turkey especially since the beginning of refugee influx into Europe in 2015.

Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to curb illegal immigration through the dangerous Aegean Sea route from Turkey to Greece. Under the deal, Greece sends back migrants held in the heavily-patrolled Aegean islands they crossed to from nearby Turkish shores.

Palestinian refugees from Syria continue to risk their lives onboard the “death boats” to Greece, rummaging around for a momentary respite from the daily scenes of bloodshed and destruction.

AGPS has kept record of the death of dozens of refugees onboard Greece-bound ships. Several others have been arrested by Turkish coast guard near the borders.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/9289

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Sunday called on Greece's new government to end the illegal practice of "pushback" of irregular migrants over the Turkish border.

In response, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis denied the claims on Tuesday, saying that Ankara should be “more cautious when referring to Greece”. 

"Although Greece denies the fact that irregular migrants are pushed back into our country by Greek authorities, the pushback of irregular migrants carried out by Greek officials on our border continues both at sea and on land," the Turkish ministry said in a statement.

In the first 10 month of 2019, 25,404 irregular migrants were pushed back into Turkey by Greece, the ministry said, a significant increase from the 11,867 migrants pushed back in 2018.

In interviews with these migrants, Turkish authorities have learned that, in many instances, the migrants' personal belongings were confiscated and they were subjected to unacceptable treatment, such as beatings, before being pushed back to Turkey by Greek officials.

"We have all kinds of images, photographs, documents and statements of returned people regarding the pushback practices of Greek officials," the ministry said.

The ministry noted that the pushback practices, which are contrary to international law, have also been recorded in reports by the Council of Europe. The council has called on Greece to suspend and investigate these practices, the statement added.

"We invite the new Greek government to work to correct this policy, which is contrary to international law, rather than to deny the pushback cases identified by the Council of Europe, which has all the information and documents that we have," the ministry concluded.

Under international laws and conventions, Greece is obliged to register any illegal migrants entering its territory; yet, this is not the case for thousands of migrants who were forcibly returned to Turkey especially since the beginning of refugee influx into Europe in 2015.

Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to curb illegal immigration through the dangerous Aegean Sea route from Turkey to Greece. Under the deal, Greece sends back migrants held in the heavily-patrolled Aegean islands they crossed to from nearby Turkish shores.

Palestinian refugees from Syria continue to risk their lives onboard the “death boats” to Greece, rummaging around for a momentary respite from the daily scenes of bloodshed and destruction.

AGPS has kept record of the death of dozens of refugees onboard Greece-bound ships. Several others have been arrested by Turkish coast guard near the borders.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/9289