The state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu released an unfounded report alleging Greece had pushed 6,000 migrants back to the coast of Turkey over the past eight months. The report also went on to accuse Greek authorities of mistreating the migrants in the operations of the coast guards.
“Turkey rescued about 6,000 migrants, who were repatriated from Greek territorial waters in eight months,” the report said without explaining how such a large number had managed to leave the Turkish shores unhindered towards the Greek islands, despite Ankara’s commitments to tackle illegal immigration.
The article refers to a “journey of hope” of illegal immigrants who fled their country due to civil wars and unrest in search of a better life in Europe. “Illegal migrants face the harsh sea and weather conditions in the Aegean Sea, where they board boats, lifeboats, and dingies that exceed their capacity, as well as the mistreatment of the Greek authorities (…) Illegal migrants are pushed back into Turkish territorial waters with boats with disassembled engines while getting stripped of their valuables such as money and jewelry, as well as food. Turkey is extending a hand of life to migrants who have almost been left to die.”
According to the data presented in the piece, which are disputed by the competent Greek authorities, in the last eight months (January – August) of 2021, 5,934 illegal immigrants were “repelled”, who -according to Turkish allegations- tried to cross into Greek territorial waters, mainly from the area of Smyrna (Izmir).
Last July, in response to reports of rumoured “deportations”, the Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, had characterised the accusations: “completely unfounded and based on plans or testimonies provided by the country of departure [Turkey]. Many cases have been investigated by the European Union with reports that record no violations of fundamental European rights.”