A boat carrying 43people, 16 of them small children, was traveling from Ayvalik, Turkey toward Tsonia, Lesvos north at first light this morning, when they were stopped by a vessel from the Greek coast guard and pushed back to Turkish waters.
The boat was dangerously overloaded, and should not have been at sea at all, from pictures and videos from the boat this is obvious, people are packed together in this small boat as sardines. The smuglers don’t care as long as they get paid, that human lives are at risk seems to be of no concern for them.
The boat crossed into Greek waters, shortly after a vessel from the Greek coast guard arrived. The vessel and its crew is well known for taking part in pushback operations, the ΛΣ-602, a Lambro 57 MK.ll coastal patrol vessel belonging to the Hellenic coast guard, stationed on Lesvos, has been involved in numerous documented cases.
People was threatened at gunpoint, while the petrol tank was removed from their boat, shortly after the HCG vessel moved away and left them helplessly drifting in the Aegean Sea. The crew from the coast guard vessel must have seen the state of the rubber boat, and that it was dangerously overloaded, but nevertheless they left them in the middle of the sea. Greek authorities continue to say that Turkish authorities must stop these dangerous boats from starting from Turkey, but to leave them drifting in the middle of the sea is seemingly ok, strange contradiction.
When the coast guard vessel moved away people onboard dared to take up their phones and made some videos, while they were being threatened at gunpoint the message from the crew was clear, if the observed any phones they would be beaten and their phones taken away from them.
People from the rubber boat said the officers on the coast guard vessel beat them with long sticks, there was shouting and screaming, everyone was so scared, “we didn’t dear to do anything, we just obeyed their orders, afterwards they left us to drown”.
From a distance a larger vessel from the Greek coast guard was watching, nothing was done to intervene, everything was done according to their orders from Greek authorities.
People onboard started calling for help, and after one hour a vessel from the Turkish coast guard arrived and picked them up. The group was taken back to Turkey, the country they were fleeing from, facing an uncertain future and possibly deportation back to their home country, in this case Afghanistan.
This is how border management looks like in the Aegean Sea, Greek authorities violently return people wanting to apply for asylum, there is no due process, international laws and obligations seems to be of no importance. This case will be listed as a “voluntary” return by Greek authorities, that they returned to Turkey by themselves because Greek border guards told them to do so, without any use of force of course, a prevention of entry.
What we see in the videos is of course not as they say it is, but who cares, as long as people have been prevented from entering Europe, by any means possible, it’s all well and good, no questions asked by EU as long as the job gets done.
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