Turkey says Greek guards 'pushed back' migrants found frozen to death near border

Evros river Greece Turkey

The migrants' bodies were located near the Ipsala crossing point without shoes and stripped of their clothes, according to Turkish authorities.

Twelve migrants have been found frozen to death near Turkey's border, prompting accusations that they had been pushed back over the frontier by Greek guards.

Their bodies were found near the Ipsala crossing point without shoes and stripped of their clothes, Turkish authorities said.

One died in hospital after being rescued by Turkish officials, according to the governor's office in Edirne province.

Suleyman Soylu, the Turkish interior minister, said the victims were among 22 migrants who were pushed back by Greek border guards.

He posted blurred images of eight of the bodies on Twitter, including three in shorts and T-shirts, and accused the EU of being "remediless, weak and void of humane feelings".


Mr Soylu claimed that Greek border units were behaving like "thugs" towards migrants while allowing members of the Gulen movement, a network that Turkey says is behind a 2016 failed military coup, to remain in Greece.

Greece has always denied pushing migrants back after they have crossed from Turkey.

“These migrants never made it to the Greek border,” Mr. Mitarachi, who was in Lille, France, for an informal E.U. summit on migration, said in a statement. “Any suggestion they did, or indeed were pushed back into Turkey, is utter nonsense.”

Turkey is a major route for migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East trying to reach European countries and since 2015, when more than a million migrants crossed into Europe, they have been travelling via Greece. Some come by sea using dinghies and reach Greek islands just miles from Turkey’s shores. Others try to sneak across the land border, which is demarcated by a river.

Recently, smuggling gangs have even been piling migrants into yachts heading from Turkey to Italy. Dozens of migrants have died in the central Aegean last month.