This morning six boats with a total of 300 people They tried, after leaving the Turkish coast, to reach Greek territorial waters, with the intention of arriving at dawn on the east coast of the nearby island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. It happened before seven in the morning, according to the commands of the Greek Coast Guard. Eventually all the vessels returned to the Turkish shores. It is not an isolated event, but it is unique, since six Turkish Coast Guard patrol boats and a boat from its Navy that were sailing in the area did not try to prevent the migrants from crossing.
It has been reported that in some cases the Turkish patrolmen came to harass the patrols from the Coast Guard, who a few hours later showed images of what happened.
This led to the Greek Minister of Migration Policy Notis Mitarakis to declare that there were “multiple incidents of the Turkish Coast Guard and Navy accompanying migrant boats to the border of Europe, in an effort to provoke an escalation with Greece.”
The minister also added that “there is no doubt that these migrants left the Turkish shores and since they were supported by Turkey, they were not in danger” and made an appeal to Turkey. Greece calls for this type of unjustified provocation to be stopped, that these migrants can be safely returned back to Turkey and that the provisions of the joint declaration between the European Union and Turkey in 2016 on migration be complied with.
Usually whenvessels from the Turkish shores They are seen by the Turkish patrols, they make them return to land and do not let them leave their territorial waters to enter the Greek ones.
The Aegean islands with 15,000 immigrants
At this moment in the five Aegean islands closest to the Turkish coast there are approximately 15,000 immigrants, including 7,000 in the new temporary camp that replaced the fearsome Kara Tepé, burned down a few months ago. In fact, the perpetrators of the fire, four young people and two minors, all of them Afghans, who caused the first fire in the camp (there were several later) last year, are already in the hands of justice. The two minors were tried in early March, sentenced and are in a juvenile detention center.
The Kiriakos Mitsotakis government is managing to speed up the identification and asylum application process, as well as the reunification of families when legally possible, and as a result there are fewer and fewer immigrants on the islands. Also the constant patrols, both Greek and Frontex, help to reduce the number of boats that reach the coast. On the other hand, there are numerous NGOs that declare that the hot returns, something that the Greek authorities deny.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism