Two life rafts carrying irregular migrants were pushed into Turkish territorial waters by the Greek coast guard in the Aegean Sea, drone footage by the Turkish National Defense Ministry showed on Sunday, Anadolu Agency reported.
In a statement, the ministry said an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Naval Forces Command recorded the pushback of irregular migrants 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles) from the Turkish coast by the Greek coast guard boat LS-930, which was a violation of territorial waters .
#Greek coast guard vessel LS-930 violating #Turkish waters to push the boats carrying migrants, 1,5 km off the Turkish coasts. Moments captured by the Turkish navy drones. Forced pushbacks are regularly used by #Greece which cause casualties&tragedies
— 🇹🇷 Umut Acar (@AcarUmut) July 17, 2022
The pushback and territorial water violation, which took place near the Dilek Strait between the Turkish coast and Aegean island of Samos, was immediately reported to the Turkish Coast Guard Command, it said, adding that the migrants were rescued.
Ankara and international human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable people, including women and children.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution in their countries.
It already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, and is taking new security measures on its borders to humanely prevent an influx of migrants.