In Turkey, twelve refugees were found dead due to exposure to cold conditions near Greece’s border. Both the neighboring countries are accusing each other for the deaths of the migrants.
Officials in Turkey reported that nine bodies were discovered on Wednesday morning, and later by prompting a search, they found two more. Meanwhile, another person was found with frostbite and later died in hospital.
Turkey blames Greek border units for the deaths of refugees by saying that the officials of Greece pushed the migrant’s group back across the border, which led to the tragedy. The group includes 22 migrants, out of which 12 succumbed to cold.
Suleyman Soylu, Turkey’s interior minister, posted blurred pictures on his Twitter’s account by showing the corpses lying near the northwestern border town of Ipsala. The images also show that the deceased were wearing only t-shirts and shorts despite the harsh cold weather.
He accused the Greek Border Officials of their cruel behavior and said the EU was weak while Greece denies the claim. However, Notis Mitarachi, Greek’s Migration Minister, said the deaths of the migrants is a tragedy and Turkey is making false propaganda against Greece.
In addition, he said these refugees never made it to the border, and Turkey is making false allegations on Greece.
The fatalities have been described as “horrifying” by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Safa Msehli, a spokesperson for the IOM, said reports of pushback against the people on the move at some European borders and worldwide is a major concern, and it should be adequately investigated.
Although the number of persons attempting the journey has declined in recent years, Greece is one of the main gateways into EU for migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.
More than 2,500 migrants died or went missing at sea trying to reach Europe from North Africa and Turkey last year, according to the UN refugee agency.
Moreover, there are nearly four million Syrian refugees, as well as 300,000 Afghanis who are currently residing in Turkey.