Turkey accuses Greece of new migrant pushbacks

Migrant hold a banner during a protest against migrants pushbacks and border violence, near the Greek parliament in Athens on February 20, 2022. - Migrants protest against the pushbacks at the Greek Turkish borders and the authorities' migration policy. Early February, Turkey said it had found 19 frozen bodies close to the Greek border. Ankara accused Greece of allowing the migrants to die in the winter cold after stripping them of their clothes and forcing them back across the border. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP)

Turkey has rescued 95 migrants from three overloaded boats in the Aegean Sea, the interior ministry said on Monday, accusing Greece of pushing back the dinghies from its shores, Agence France-Presse reported.

Two inflatable boats carrying 37 people and 47 people, respectively, were rescued off the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, the interior ministry said.

Another boat carrying 11 people was spotted near Turkey’s western port city of İzmir the same day, the interior ministry said.

The ministry described all 95 people as “irregular migrants” but provided no details of their countries of origin.

Ankara regularly accuses Greece of pushing migrant boats back into Turkish waters in violation of international law.

Greece accuses Turkey of turning a blind eye to irregular migrants leaving its shores.

Turkey’s latest accusations came just weeks after a fishing trawler carrying hundreds of migrants capsized in Greek waters, leaving at least 82 dead.

The Greek coastguard managed to rescue 104 people, but as many as 560 others on board may have perished, by some estimates.

The European Union’s border agency, Frontex, said last week it had received “no response” when it offered aerial support to Greek officials before the tragedy.

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