Greek police have rescued a group of 92 illegal migrants who were discovered naked, and some with injuries, close to its northern border with Turkey, police say.
The migrants, all men, were discovered close to the Evros river that marks the border between Greece and Turkey on Friday, Greek police said in a statement on Saturday.
An investigation by Greek police and officials from the EU border agency Frontex, found evidence that the migrants crossed the river into Greek territory in rubber dinghies from Turkey, police said.
“Border policemen…discovered 92 illegal migrants without clothes, some of whom had injuries on their bodies,” the statement said. It was not clear how and why the men had lost their clothes.
The Greek Border Guard rescued the individuals from the banks of the Evros river on Greece’s northeastern border this Friday October 13th. They had been dumped at the location without clothes, personal items or equipment.
Naked migrants Turkey’s latest act of provocation
The Ministry of Citizen Protection has since openly castigated Turkey for its latest provocation. In regards to the 92 naked migrants sent, it stated:“Turkey continues to openly use immigrants as a tool, to violate human rights, to violate International Law.”
According to their own statements to Greek police, the migrants were carried to Evros in three Turkish vehicles before boarding on plastic boats to cross to the Greek side.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said in a tweet that Turkey’s treatment of the migrants was a “shame for civilization”. He said Athens expected Ankara to investigate the incident.
Turkish authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Greece was on the frontline of a European migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, when around a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in the country, mainly via Turkey.
The number of arrivals has fallen since then. But Greek authorities said they had recently seen an increase in attempted arrivals through the Turkish land border and the Greek islands.
Greece has urged Turkey to respect a 2016 deal with the European Union in which Ankara agreed to contain the flow of migrants to Europe in exchange for billions of euros in aid.
Migration crisis: Turkey instrumentalizing human misery
The act of instrumentalizing human misery for political attention or gains has become one of Turkey’s most infamous techniques. Neither Greece nor the EU are standing for it, however.
Turkey says it has ramped up measures to prevent people smuggling. But the evidence is contrary to what Turkey says. There are ample videos of Turkish coast guards beating and pushing boats laden with illegal immigrants in the direction of the Greek Islands.