92 refugees found naked and injured on the border with Turkey: a photo that shocks the world

92 refugees found naked and injured at border re with Turkey: a photo that shocks the world

MISE À DAY

Ninety-two refugees were found naked after being forced, according to Athens, to cross the Evros, the river separating Turkey from Greece, “an inhuman image”, reacted on Sunday the Greek Minister of Civil Protection. 

A spokeswoman for the European border surveillance agency Frontex, Paulina Bakula, confirmed to AFP “the rescue of the 92 migrants Friday” with the assistance of the Greek authorities.

“The (Frontex) agents reported that the migrants had been found naked and that some of them had visible injuries,” she added, speaking from Warsaw, the organization's headquarters, while Athens assures that Turkey forced these people to undress before deporting them to the Greek side of the border.

Greek Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos has accused Ankara of 'instrumentalising illegal immigration' but Turkey has denied any involvement in the treatments degrading inflicted on these refugees.

In a series of particularly virulent Twitter messages, worded in Turkish, Greek and English, the Turkish presidency has blamed its Greek neighbor whom it accuses of “inhumane” behavior.

“We call on Greece to renounce its inhuman attitude towards refugees as soon as possible, to put an end to the false and groundless accusations against Turkey”, writes the director of communication of the Turkish Presidency, Fahrettin Altun.

“Through these ridiculous actions, Greece is once again showing the world that it does not even respect the dignity of oppressed peoples, publishing the photos of the refugees it deported after having stripped them of their personal belongings” adds- he.

Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli had previously called on Athens to stop “manipulation and dishonesty”.

Syrians and Afghans

Most of the people concerned, Syrians and Afghans, “told Frontex agents that three Turkish army vehicles had transferred them to Evros”, assured Takis Theodorikakos in an interview with the chain of Skai private television.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Sunday condemned “such cruel and degrading treatment” on Twitter and called for a “full investigation into this incident”.

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi on Saturday called the incident a “disgrace for civilization”.

Greece is regularly singled out by NGOs and various journalistic investigations for illegal and violent pushbacks carried out at its maritime and land borders with Turkey.

But it has always denied resorting to this practice, which is contrary to international law.

At the end of September, at the United Nations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reproached Greece for turning the Aegean Sea into a “graveyard with his “repressive policy”.

Mr. Attun insisted again on Sunday: “The Greek authorities must first be held accountable for the babies they left to drown in the Aegean Sea, the people they robbed and beat with belts in Meriç (the Turkish name of Evros, editor's note) and left to freeze to death in coordination with Frontex”, he wrote.

Reacting to the incident on Sunday, the NGO Mare Liberum estimated that “in the region of Evros, crimes against human rights are systematic and committed daily by Turkey and Greece”.

“When these crimes are discussed publicly by members of governments, it is of no use only to fuel the conflict” between these two countries, she continued.