New report exposes violation of international immigration law by Greece

New report exposes violation of international immigration law by Greece

Türkiye has opened its borders to those escaping death in Syrian war since 2011, says minister

By Zehra Aydin Turapoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Greek coastal authorities have repeatedly violated international law by pushing irregular immigrants back into seawater, resulting in the deaths of some of them, according to the latest report released by Turkiye, which also blamed EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, or Frontex, for its complicity.

The report Pushbacks and Drowning Human Rights in the Aegean Sea was unveiled by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Thursday in the parliament, which underlined Türkiye's important role in dealing with the irregular immigration issue in the country.

The report said thousands of irregular migrants were victims of pushbacks, and even some of them lost their lives, in which Frontex was involved.

Frontex was founded in 2004 with a mission to coordinate the European Union's external borders and it began to operate on Oct. 3, 2005.

Despite knowing about the violations of international law, Frontex tolerated and did not prevent violations of fundamental rights, and in some cases, it assisted Greek coastal authorities.

Frontex and Greek authorities have consistently disputed charges of pushbacks made by international human rights organizations, the international press, politicians, and several other institutions.

Since 2016, Turkey has sent approximately 362,000 irregular migrants in compliance with international law.

"We have sent 335,000 people back to their respective countries without harming anyone since 2016," Soylu said, adding, "We requested 28,000 people to go, and they left (the country)."

Criticizing Greece for its treatment of irregular immigrants and their pushback, Soylu said: "The EU Border and Coast Guard Agency has an institution called Frontex and it is the disgrace of the West.”

He said Türkiye made efforts to replace the previous Frontex chief, who he blamed for the "massacres."

Referring to the Syrian refugees in the country, he said Türkiye has opened its borders to those escaping death since 2011, under the leadership of the Turkish president.

“We have records of those who came to our borders... We have done everything that no one thought in West, in line with our civilization, religion, nationality, belief, and this geography,” he added.

Türkiye is the largest host country for Syrian refugees, providing protection to nearly 4 million people who fled Syria – more than any other country in the world.

* Writing by Gozde Bayar

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