92 refugees found naked at the border between Greece and Turkey

Ninety-two refugees were found naked after being forced, according to Athens, to cross the Evros, the river separating Turkey from Greece, “an inhuman image”, reacted this Sunday the Greek Minister of Civil Protection . A spokeswoman for the European border surveillance agency Frontex, Paulina Bakula, confirmed “the rescue of 92 migrants on Friday” with the help of the Greek authorities.

“The (Frontex) agents reported that the migrants had been found naked and that some of them had visible injuries,” she added, speaking from Warsaw, the organization’s headquarters, while ‘Athens assures that Turkey forced these people to undress before deporting them to the Greek side of the border. Greek Minister of Civil Protection, Takis Theodorikakos, accused Ankara of “instrumentalising illegal immigration” but Turkey denied any involvement in the degrading treatment inflicted on these refugees.

Turkey denies

In a series of particularly virulent Twitter messages, worded in Turkish, Greek and English, the Turkish presidency has blamed its Greek neighbor whom it accuses of “inhumane” behavior. “We call on Greece to renounce its inhuman attitude towards refugees as soon as possible, to put an end to the false and groundless accusations against Turkey”, writes the director of communication of the Turkish Presidency, Fahrettin Altun.

Most of the people concerned, Syrians and Afghans, “told Frontex agents that three Turkish army vehicles had transferred them to Evros”, assured Takis Theodorikakos in an interview with the chain of Skai private television. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) condemned this Sunday on Twitter “such cruel and degrading treatment” and called for a “full investigation into this incident”.

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“Shame on Civilization”

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi on Saturday called the incident “a shame for civilization”. Greece is regularly singled out by NGOs and various journalistic investigations for illegal and violent pushbacks carried out at its maritime and land borders with Turkey. But it has always denied resorting to this practice, which is contrary to international law.

At the end of September at the United Nations platform, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Greece for turning the Aegean Sea into a “cemetery” with its “repressive policy”. Reacting to the incident on Sunday, the NGO Mare Liberum estimated that “in the Evros region, crimes against human rights are systematic and committed daily by Turkey and Greece”. “When these crimes are discussed publicly by members of governments, it only serves to fuel the conflict” between these two countries, she continued.

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