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Greece forces migrants to return to Turkish waters, risking their lives, footage shows

New footage released on Friday revealed that the Greek coast guard pushed irregular migrants back to Turkish territorial waters after transferring them to rubber boats.

Footage recorded by Turkish security forces’ drones shows Greek authorities abandoning migrants on a rubber boat in the middle of the open sea in an area north of the island of Rhodes.

After the migrants were forced to return to Turkish waters under dangerous conditions, the Turkish coast guard quickly stepped in to rescue them.

Last week, other footage also revealed that the Greek coast guard tried to sink boats carrying migrants to block them from reaching the European Union’s borders.

In the footage showing several pushback incidents, boats carrying migrants, including children, were subjected to inhumane treatment by the members of the Greek coast guard, which tried to push them back to Turkish territorial waters. While conducting dangerous maneuvers that could cause the boats to sink, they also made holes in the dinghies with sharp iron sticks. Bullets were also fired near the boats to intimidate the migrants.

Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which say people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life or safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a social or political group.

Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants aiming to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks and summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, which is a violation of international law. Ankara has also accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.

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