The Turkish coast guard came to the rescue of dozens of irregular migrants in western Türkiye after they suffered another instance of Greece’s notorious “pushback” practice. A total of 130 irregular migrants pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek forces were rescued Saturday by the Turkish coast guard off the coasts of western Izmir province’s Menderes, Karaburun, Foça and Çeşme districts.
Meanwhile, 265 irregular migrants and a migrant smuggler were caught off the coasts of Karaburun and Dikili.
The irregular migrants were handed to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management after procedures. The coast guard also intercepted 170 irregular migrants in rubber boats off the coast of western Çanakkale province’s Ayvacık district.
Teams from the Coast Guard Northern Aegean Group Command detected four rubber boats transporting irregular migrants off the coast of Ayvacık. During the operations, 170 irregular migrants from Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Somalia were caught and taken to shore. The foreign nationals were sent to the Ayvacık Foreigners Removal Center after being processed.
Türkiye and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back irregular migrants, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children. In some cases, it ends with the deaths of migrants, especially at the inland Türkiye-Greece border in the frigid winter months.
The Aegean Sea’s treacherous waters also pose a danger for migrants who brave perilous journeys.
Last month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that it has long been alarmed by the “increasing frequency” of Greek migrant pushbacks. “We are aware of the recent reports from the Turkish coast guard. In terms of pushbacks in general – at both land and sea borders – we have long been sounding the alarm on the increasing frequency of expulsions and pushbacks of refugees and asylum-seekers at Europe’s land and sea borders and have called on states to investigate and halt these practices,” UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told Anadolu Agency (AA).
Her remarks came after a weekend pushback of dozens of migrants into Turkish territorial waters by Greece. “States must uphold their commitments and respect fundamental human rights, including the right to life and right to seek asylum,” she urged.
In July alone, Greek naval forces pushed over 1,100 asylum-seekers into Turkish territorial waters in the Aegean, all of whom the Turkish coast guard rescued, adding to the thousands abandoned to their fate in the Eastern Mediterranean since the refugee crisis first gained pace in 2015.
Source : DailySabah