According to Athens, ninety-two refugees were found naked and forced to cross the river that divides the river Evros. Turkey from Greece, “an inhuman image”, responded the Greek Minister of Civil Defense this Sunday. Paulina Pakula, a spokeswoman for Frontex, the European border watchdog, confirmed that “92 migrants were rescued on Friday” with the help of Greek authorities.
“(Frontex) agents reported that the migrants were seen naked and some of them had visible injuries,” he added, speaking from the organization’s headquarters in Warsaw.Athens Turkey claims it forced these people to undress before deporting them to the Greek side of the border. Greek Civil Defense Minister Takis Theodorikakos charged Ankara Turkey has denied any involvement in “instrumentalizing illegal immigration” but denigrating these refugees.
In a series of particularly scathing Twitter messages written in Turkish, Greek and English, the Turkish presidency blamed its Greek neighbor for what it accused of “inhumane” behavior. “We call on Greece to immediately abandon its inhumane attitude towards refugees, to put an end to the false and baseless accusations against Turkey,” writes Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun.
Most of the people involved, Syrians and Afghans, “told Frontex agents that three Turkish military vehicles transferred them to Evros”, assured Takis Theodorikakos in an interview with Skai private television chain. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)HCR) took to Twitter this Sunday to condemn “such cruel and despicable behavior” and call for “a full investigation into this incident.”
“Shame on Civilization”
Greek Migration Minister Notis Midarachi called the incident a “disgrace to civilization” on Saturday. Greece continues to be singled out by NGOs and various press investigations for its illegal and violent attacks on its maritime and land borders with Turkey. But it has always denied this practice as contrary to international law.
On the stage of the United Nations in late September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Greece for turning the Aegean Sea into a “graveyard” with its “oppressive policy”. Reacting to Sunday’s incident, the NGO Mare Liberum estimated that “in the Evros region, crimes against human rights are systematically and daily committed by Turkey and Greece.” “When these crimes are discussed publicly by members of the government, it only serves to fuel the conflict between these two countries,” he continued.
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