HomeWorld NewsRefugees stripped to their underwear as they're forced back into Turkey
Refugees stripped to their underwear as they're forced back into Turkey
Refugees attempting to enter Greece were stripped to their underwear as they were forced back into Turkey on Thursday.
Harrowing images taken yesterday show groups of migrants wrapping their arms around themselves to keep warm as they huddled together after reportedly trying to wade across the Evros River in northwestern Turkey.
Another photo shows a male refugee lowering his jacket to expose brutal injuries on his back.
More than 10,000 migrants mostly from Syria, other Middle Eastern states and Afghanistan, have gathered at the Greek border hoping to get to western Europe. The situation arose after Turkey said it would no longer uphold a 2016 deal with the European Union to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants on its soil in return for EU aid.
It comes after Turkish officials alleged Greek forces killed a migrant and wounded five others on Wednesday as they tried to cross the border between the two countries.
The Greek government has strongly denied allegations, calling them ‘fake news’.
Greek authorities were filmed using tear gas and a water cannon to stop groups pushing through the border on Friday morning, while Turkish authorities fired volleys of the chemical weapon which can cause difficulty breathing, skin irritation and chest pain, back onto Greek soil.
Turkey has said it is deploying 1,000 special forces police on its side of the border to prevent Greek authorities from pushing back migrants.
During a visit to Edirne on Thursday, interior minister Suleyman Soylu reportedly Soylu accused Greece of ‘mistreating’ migrants and refugees, saying Turkey ‘would not allow it’.
In a statement, the EU Council – representing the 27 foreign ministers – said the council expressed ‘its solidarity with Greece’ and ‘strongly rejects Turkey’s use of migratory pressure for political purposes’.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to open the border came amid a Syrian government offensive in the country’s northwestern Idlib province, where Turkish troops are fighting.
A cease-fire in Idlib brokered by Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday came into effect at midnight, leading opposition activists and a war monitor to report a complete absence of Russian and Syrian government war planes in the skies and a relative calm in the area.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has welcomed the cease-fire, saying: ‘Let’s see how it works, that is the precondition in order to increase humanitarian help for the people in Idlib.’
He added that the EU needed to improve relations with Turkey and Russia, saying foreign ministers would be discussing more funds for Turkey.
However, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok says he opposed more aid for Turkey now, saying: ‘We should not react to the pressure that Turkey is exerting on us by agreeing to more money under pressure.’
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the situation on the borders would also be discussed at the meeting.