ANKARA – Turkey’s Coast Guard, which is letting human traffickers send refugees and migrants to Greece, said it had saved 143 of them allegedly pushed back by Greece, but again not offering any proof.
It’s a frequent claim that Greece’s New Democracy government has denied despite assertions from Turkey, human rights groups and activists, and major media that the pushbacks are going on.
Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT World, controlled by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the refugees and migrants were pushed back into Turkish territorial waters but didn’t say who do it.
It said that Turkey’s Coast Guard rushed to their rescue and that it prevented another rubber dinghy carrying 31 from being sent toward Greek islands near Turkey’s coast, taking them to migration offices.
Turkey is holding more than 4 million refugees and migrants who went there fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands, primarily Syria and Afghanistan, using the country as a jumping-off point to the EU.