Athens repeatedly denies accusations by rights groups and United Nations refugee agency UNHCR that it pushes migrants out of Greek waters.

Footage shows the occupants of one boat attaching a rope from its stern to a small rubber dinghy, which the boat then tows in reverse before detaching from it and moving off.
Footage shows the occupants of one boat attaching a rope from its stern to a small rubber dinghy, which the boat then tows in reverse before detaching from it and moving off. (Twitter/@tcsavunma)

Türkiye has accused Greece of pushing a boat carrying migrants out of Greek territorial waters and back into Turkish ones.

The defence ministry in Ankara said on Monday that the incident occurred near Rhodes on Sunday, and posted drone footage on social media that showed the coast guard pulling the boat into Turkish waters near the southwestern resort of Marmaris.

The Greek coast guard had no immediate comment.

The footage shows the occupants of one boat attaching a rope from its stern to a small rubber dinghy, which the boat then tows in reverse before detaching from it and moving off. 

It was not clear how many people were in the dinghy.

READ MORE: European rights court fines Greece over migrant deaths at Aegean Sea

Endangering the lives

Athens has repeatedly denied accusations by rights groups and United Nations refugee agency UNHCR that it pushes migrants out of Greek waters, saying it intercepts boats at sea to protect its borders.

Greece was the frontline of Europe's migration crisis in 2015 and 2016 when around a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived, mainly via Türkiye. 

The number of arrivals has fallen sharply since then.

International human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.

READ MORE: Greece’s deadly pushback tactics, explained

Source: Reuters