Turkish coast guards 'beat migrants on a boat'

Turkish coast guards 'beat migrants on a boat'
A video allegedly showing Turkish coast guards beating a group of migrants on a boat has surfaced, calling into question the authorities handling of refugees.
2 min read
12 March, 2016
Thousands of refugees have crossed into Europe via boats from Turkey [Getty]
A video appearing to show Turkish coast guards beating up migrants on a rubber boat has emerged.

The footage, sent to the BBC by a volunteer working in Lesbos shows an attack take place as the refugees sailed from Turkey to Greece on Saturday.

Coast guards on a separate vessel are seen hitting Arabic and Farsi speaking people with poles before passing on to the island of Lesbos.

However, Turkish coast guards maintain they do not use force when stopping the boats.

"We try everything to stop dinghy engines without harming refugees on board," a Turkish coast guard said.

The news comes as Turkey continues discussions with the European Union in a bid to decrease the flow of refugees into Europe.

A proposed plan suggests refugees fleeing poverty and war would be sent back from Greece to Turkey was announced this week.

But the United Nations described the draft EU-Ankara deal as "illegal" and said is raises "a number of very serious concerns."

"Among my concerns is the potential for collective and arbitrary expulsions, which are illegal," UN Rights Chief, Zeid Raad al-Hussein said.

The EU-Turkey plan drawn would see Ankara take back all illegal migrants landing in Greece, in a bid to reduce their incentive to get to Europe.

In return for every expulsion from Greece, the EU would resettle one Syrian refugee from camps in Turkey - which is hosting about 2.7 million people who have fled the conflict across the border.

And in exchange for its cooperation, Turkey wants six billion euros ($6.6 billion) in aid, visa-free access to Europe's passport-free Schengen zone and a speeding up of its efforts to join the EU.

The United Nations said more than 132,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe so far this year, more than the total number for the first five months of 2015.