Turkish security forces have killed 502 people at Syrian border in last decade

Turkish security forces have killed a total of 502 people in the last 10 years at the Syrian border, said lawyer Ahmet Baran Çelik from the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), the Duvar news website reported.

Speaking at a press conference held jointly on Wednesday with the Human Rights Association (İHD), Çelik said since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, law enforcement and border patrol officers had killed hundreds of people crossing into Turkey as refugees. According to Çelik 67 of those murdered were women and 94 were children.

During the press conference İHD and ÖHD representatives drew attention to the atrocities that were also taking place on Turkey’s border with Greece. They said two Syrians, Muhammed El Ali and Muhammed Ismail, went missing on August 23 as they were trying to cross into Greece.

Gülseri Yoleri, from the İHD, claimed Turkish security forces knew that a group of refugees were trying to cross the border and “threw the men into the Evros River.”

According to Yoleri, the families of the missing men were worried about their fate. “We are in touch with Ismail’s family, and they are going through a terrible ordeal. They want to know if he is dead or alive, and if he is dead, they want his body to be found,” she said.

Ismail’s family has been living in Turkey for seven years.

Violence at Turkey’s borders is not uncommon. Two Iranian smugglers were allegedly subjected to abuse and torture at an army post on the Iranian border in April.

Khales Arsan, a migrant laborer from Afghanistan who had crossed into Turkey from the Iranian city of Maku, disappeared on July 19, 2020 for several days. Arsan later claimed he  was tortured at a border post for three days.

Two refugees were killed and 12 others were injured after they were caught in cross-fire between Turkish security forces and migrant smugglers in Turkey’s southeastern Siirt province on June 27.

Research by Amnesty International published on April 3 said migrants and refugees traveling from Turkey to Greece have been tortured, robbed and even killed. According to their study both Turkish and Greek border guards were complicit in these crimes. In some cases, when the migrants managed to cross the border, they were pushed back to Turkey.

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