NGOs "Mare liberum" accuses Greece of returning asylum seekers to Turkey

From March to December alone, in 321 cases, 9,798 people were forcibly returned to Turkey and thus denied the right to seek asylum, according to the non-governmental organization Mare Liberum.


The NGO Mare Liberum has issued a strong condemnation of Greece after the Greek coast guard turned around 300 border trespassers escorted by Turkish warships last week.

According to the NGO, the incident reflects an unprecedented escalation of human rights violations in the Aegean Sea over the past year: from March to December alone, 321 cases were recorded and 9,798 people were forcibly returned to Turkey, thus depriving them of the right to apply for asylum.

In addition, the report notes that, in addition to the Greek Coast Guard, which played a leading role in these illegal activities, the European border organization Frontex and NATO-commanded ships patrolling the Aegean Sea are involved in systematic and illegal deportations.

“These events are not isolated or extreme cases of European containment, but are the current and daily course of action on the external borders of the EU. The retaliation can only be seen as part of an inhuman and deadly political deterrent that is manifesting far beyond the Aegean Sea. We live in a Europe where people are thrown into the sea on tiny rafts instead of being accepted as protection seekers, ”said Paul Hanewinkel, one of the authors of the Mare Liberum report.

“The actions of the Greek authorities, described by the refugees, have reached a completely new dimension of methodology, where violence and humiliation are used strategically. Retaliation is a crime against human rights orchestrated mainly by the Greek authorities, but this is a common and inhuman European strategy. To stop them, we call for an independent review, clarification of all previous cases and the abolition of Frontex, a service that knowingly violates the rights of refugees. We call on all authorities involved in the response to be held accountable at the national and international levels, ”said Paul Hanewinkel.

The International Organization for Migration calls on the European Union and member states to put an end to this reprehensible practice and take urgent action in this direction. “The use of excessive force and violence against civilians is unjustified,” said the head of the international organization for migration, Eugenio Ambrosi. “The sovereignty of states, including their competence to maintain the integrity of their borders, must comply with obligations under international law and respect human rights, fundamental freedoms for all,” IOM said.

This report appeared exactly after the Greek coast guard did not allow 6 boats with border trespassers into their territorial waters, which broke into the territory of Greece, accompanied by Turkish warships and boats of the Turkish border guard.

“The Geneva Convention on Refugees concerns people who flee from danger. This does not apply to persons who are assisted by a neighboring state with warships in illegal border crossing, ”said Greek Minister of Migration Notis Mitarakis.

Recall the background: early in the morning of April 2 in the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, near the island of Lesvos, Turkish Coast Guard patrol boats attempted to fly 6 inflatable boats with approximately 300 migrants into the waters of Greece. The operation, according to the Greek side, was coordinated from a Turkish Navy ship, which was in the roadstead nearby. Also, Turkish drones were involved, with the help of which the Turkish side looked for gaps in the island’s defense.

The Greek Coast Guard, according to its own statement, prevented illegal boats from entering Greek waters, after which the Turkish Coast Guard eventually picked up the people and brought them back to the Turkish coast.

At the same time, the Turkish side carried out ram attemptwhen the high-speed Turkish boat went to the Greek ship, turning at the last moment, passing a few meters from the side of the Greek boat.

Greece is confident that the action is connected with the planned trip to Turkey on Tuesday by the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the chairman of the Council Charles Michel.

In the context of this publication, it is worth noting the fact that over the past 5 years, the Greek police and the foreign intelligence service exposed several dozen employees of various NGOswho smuggled migrants into Greece without disdaining espionage in favor of Turkey and third countries, simultaneously earning on the migrants themselves.

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