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Turkey calls on EU, international community to protect refugees amid Greece push back policies

February 14, 2022 at 4:47 pm

Protesters hold signs and banners as they stand next to a life raft during a demonstration in central Athens on February 6, 2022, against migrant pushbacks and border violence, after Turkish allegations that Greece’s border policy led last week 19 migrants to freeze to death. [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister has called on the European Union and the international community to do more to protect human rights and the safety of migrants, pointing out that little has been done to hold Greece accountable for its push back and killing of migrants.

On his Twitter account yesterday, deputy Foreign Minister, Yavuz Selim Kıran posted a video showing footage of Greek border guards pushing back the boats of refugees in the Aegean Sea and beating them as they seek to be rescued.

It also showed blurred images and footage of migrants and refugees who had frozen to death, after 19 of them had died from the cold near the border of Greece and Turkey last week after Greek border guards stripped away their clothes, stole their possessions and pushed them back to Turkish territory.

In the caption of his post, Kıran said that the “images of immigrants left to die barefoot in the freezing cold make our conscience ache.” He stressed that “Push backs can never be justified by the rhetoric of ‘protection of borders’!”

On behalf of the Turkish government, he stated: “We call on the EU and the international community, which has remained silent on Greece, to uphold the human values they defend.”

Renewed scrutiny on Europe’s border push backs following death of 19 refugees in Turkey

According to the video the Minister shared, over 33,000 asylum seekers have been pushed back toward Turkey in full view of the EU border agency, Frontex, over the past two years alone. It added that, this year alone, “1,250 migrants have suffered from the illegal practices of Greek elements”.

Following the death of the refugees at the border, the United Nations said it was “shocked and deeply distressed” at the mistreatment and neglect of the victims. It did not, however, condemn Greek authorities or seek to hold them to account.

Ankara immediately urged for an international investigation into Athens’ push back of migrants and refugees and the use of force against them. Despite protests by hundreds, both in Greece and Turkey against the push back policies, there has not yet been any condemnation from the EU or the international community as a whole.

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