Greece accuses Turkey of forcing naked migrants to cross border

Greece accuses Turkey of forcing naked migrants to cross border
Greece has accused Turkey of forcing nearly a hundred migrants back across the border and making them strip naked before making the journey.
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'Turkey’s provocative behaviour exceeded all limits,' Greece’s Ministry of Asylum and Migration said Saturday [source: Getty]

Greek authorities on Saturday accused Turkey of forcing 92 migrants to cross into Greece and stripping them naked before doing so.

Greek police said that police officers found the migrants stark naked on Friday, “some with bodily injuries” who had entered the country using plastic boats to cross the Evros River, which forms a border between the two countries.

The migrants told police and officers of Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, that they had been forced by Turkish authorities to board three vehicles that took them to the border. The migrants testified that they had been forced to strip naked before boarding the boats.

Police said it had provided clothing and food for the migrants.

"Turkey’s provocative behavior exceeded all limits," Greece’s Ministry of Asylum and Migration said Saturday.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi posted a photo of the naked migrants on his Twitter account Saturday, commenting, in Greek and English: "Türkiye’s behaviour towards 92 migrants whom we rescued at the borders (yesterday), is a shame for civilisation. We expect Ankara to investigate the incident and protect at last its borders with the EU.”

Turkey regularly accuses Greece of violently pushing back migrants entering the country through land and sea, while Greece accuses Turkey of “pushing forward” migrants to put pressure on the EU.

The migrants are mostly from Afghanistan and Syria, with a few from other countries, such as Pakistan.

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Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli said late on Saturday that Ankara was not involved in the incident. 

"As you couldn't find one single case of a human rights violation by Turkey, you just seek to expose the image of your own cruelty as if Turkey did it," Catakli said on Twitter replying to a tweet by Notis Mitarachi, Greek Minister of Migration.