Asylum seekers speak from the no man's land between Turkey's Edirne and Greece's Kastanies, detailing the physical abuse and humiliation dealt by Greek border officials.

Asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe with hopes of a brighter future are being tortured by Greek border authorities before being forced back towards no man's land at the Greece-Turkey border in Edirne's Uzunkopru.

Refugees in Uzunkopru told TRT World some of them were tortured and stripped of their clothes and possessions by Greek border police who detained them as they were trying to enter Greece. Showing the scars on their backs, they said Greek authorities forced them back to no man's land in the cold, almost naked.

TRT World on March 5 spoke to at least 20 to 30 people ––mainly men, some women and children –– who were intercepted by Greece security officials while trying to cross into Kastanies, Greece. The names of the asylum seekers who spoke to TRT World have been withheld at their request.

Children among them were also sent back to the freezing cold, TRT World reporters witnessed.

Images documenting their injuries were taken on March 5.

Refugees in no man's land between Greece and Turkey near Edirne show marks on their backs which they report sustaining in beatings by Greek border officials. March 4-5, 2020. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi)
Refugees in no man's land between Greece and Turkey near Edirne show marks on their backs which they report sustaining in beatings by Greek border officials. March 4-5, 2020. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi) (Belal Khaled / )

"I'm from Syria. Me and my family, and my brother with his family entered Greece," one refugee shared. 

"We got captured by the Greek police and they showed us no mercy," he told TRT World. 

"They beat women and men and stripped them naked to search them and they claim that Greece is a country that respects human rights," he said. 

"Thank God, they released us and threw us here by the river," he said, referring to the Evros.

Refugees at Turkey's Uzunkopru in Edirne gather around the fire to keep warm after Greek officials stripped them of their clothes and belongings as they attempted to cross into Greece from Turkey. March 5, 2020. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi)
Refugees at Turkey's Uzunkopru in Edirne gather around the fire to keep warm after Greek officials stripped them of their clothes and belongings as they attempted to cross into Greece from Turkey. March 5, 2020. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi) (Belal Khaled / TRT ARABI)

"The Greeks took us," one refugee told TRT World. 

"Look at him," he said, pointing at another asylum seeker with bruises and wounds crisscrossing his back.

"They beat him because he had a phone. They broke his bones and then they forced us to take off our clothes.

May God punish them."

Refugees wash their wounds before rushing towards wood fires to heat themselves up after Greek border police stripped them of their clothes and beat them up before pushing them towards the Turkish side of no man's land at the Edirne-Kastanies border in Uzunkopru in Edirne. March 5, 2020. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi)
Refugees wash their wounds before rushing towards wood fires to heat themselves up after Greek border police stripped them of their clothes and beat them up before pushing them towards the Turkish side of no man's land at the Edirne-Kastanies border in Uzunkopru in Edirne. March 5, 2020. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi) (Belal Khaled / TRT ARABI)

"They are shooting at us with grenades," Fawzi, a Palestinian refugee using only one name, told TRT World.

"Look, it’s a gas grenade, the damage from this can be very high," he said, pointing canisters.

Another refugee shared they were captured by Greek soldiers and commandos after entering Greece.

"They stripped us naked and took our bags and money. They used plastic rods to beat Afghan women," he said.

"Europeans always claimed that they respect human rights. Where are the human rights here?

Look at what they've done to us. They took our clothes.

Look at what we're wearing."

A young man wears a thin plastic vest after losing his cloth to the Greek authorities who have sent them back to Turkey without their belongings. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi)
A young man wears a thin plastic vest after losing his cloth to the Greek authorities who have sent them back to Turkey without their belongings. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi) ()

On Friday, Greek police fired tear gas, stun grenades and even used torture to repel people trying to breach the land border from Turkey's side.

Greece's suspension of asylum applications has no legal basis under international law, the UN said, also on Friday.

On the island of Lesvos, where refugees are trying to enter on rubber dinghies and small boats, residents have used force against the asylum seekers, NGOs helping them as well as journalists covering the issue. At least two Lesvos residents have been sentenced for threatening aid workers.

Greece has shifted the blame to Turkey, for not preventing refugees from entering Europe. Greek authorities also denied refugee deaths at the hands of their forces as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at least three asylum seekers had died in border violence.

Ankara has said it is preparing a case for the European Court of Human Rights over Greece's treatment of asylum seekers. 

Young migrants gather around a small fire to keep warm. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi)
Young migrants gather around a small fire to keep warm. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi) (Belal Khaled / )

Syrian regime's attacks on Idlib since December has displaced nearly one million Syrians towards Turkey under harsh winter conditions. 

Turkey said it will no longer prevent refugees from entering Europe as it struggles to tackle with the ensuring humanitarian crisis at its borders.

“The number of asylum seekers passing from Edirne to Greece as of 0910 GMT on March 6, 2020 is 142,175,” Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.

Turkey houses nearly four million refugees from various countries, but mostly Syrians.

A Young man is covering himself with blanket after losing their clothes to the Greek authorities who have sent them back to Turkey without their belongings. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi)
A Young man is covering himself with blanket after losing their clothes to the Greek authorities who have sent them back to Turkey without their belongings. (Belal Khaled / TRT Arabi) (Belal Khaled / )

As the refugees tried to bring the warmth back into their bodies, they told TRT World how the tear gas and use of bullets has impacted them.

"This damages our ears," Fawzi said.

"We have nothing. We are just walking," he told TRT World.

"This is military stuff. They can’t shoot at innocent people with this."

“Europeans always claimed that they respect human rights. Where are the human rights here?”

Reporting by Abdullah Tanriverdi.

Source: TRT World