Death of Turkish asylum seeker who was pushed back from Greece still to be clarified

The cause of death of Turkish asylum seeker Barış Büyüksu, 30, who crossed the Aegean Sea and was later found unconscious in a boat that was pushed back from Greece to the Turkish coast on October 22, has not yet been determined, Bold Medya reported.

Büyüksu, who entered Greece via the Aegean on October 20, was pushed back to Turkey along with 14 Afghan refugees. Found unconscious in a boat that had washed up on the coast of Muğla on October 22, Büyüksu was taken to a hospital by the Muğla Coast Guard where he subsequently died. The cause of death is not yet known.

Büyüksu, who was imprisoned in Turkey in 2011 due to an altercation that involved the police, was released in 2021. His family said he left for France to start a new life.

According to a statement by the Turkish Interior Ministry, Büyüksu showed signs of beating and mistreatment when he was found. The other survivors on the boat stated that there was a non-Afghan and Turkish-speaking person at the place where they were abducted and mistreated who was tortured by electric shock, and that they were put on the boat together and forced back into Turkish territorial waters. It was later determined that this person was Turkish citizen Barış  Büyüksu.

An investigation into the incident by the Bodrum Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office is still ongoing.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who raised Büyüksu’s situation in parliament, demanded that the Foreign Ministry pursue the case.

Dilan Büyüksu, the elder sister of Barış Büyüksu, said the death of her brother with the many question marks behind it has shaken the family and that they are still waiting for the results of the autopsy.

 

A signature campaign was also launched at www.change.org as “Justice for Barış Büyüksu” to clarify the cause of Büyüksu’s death.

Human rights watchdogs such as Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch and PRO ASYL have published reports that documented several pushback cases. According to the reports, pushbacks have increased exponentially since April 2020. The persisting practice of alleged pushbacks have been reported by UNHCR, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Committee against Torture, the Greek National Commission on Human Rights and civil society organizations.

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