According to a recent study by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, hundreds of Syrian refugees seized by Turkey are unjustly jailed before being sent back to the disordered area of northern Syria. Nadia Hardman, one of the researchers at the nonprofit organisation, said that Turkish authorities had detained hundreds of Syrian refugees—including unaccompanied minors—in contravention of international law and sent them back to their home country.
The research, which was based on interviews with dozens of refugees, also stated that the majority of them had experienced severe mistreatment and had been coerced into signing what turned out to be voluntary return agreements. The non-governmental organisation accused the European Union of enabling the ‘harsh treatment’ of refugees. Notably, in exchange for a decrease in the number of migrants arriving in the continent, the EU finances immigration detention facilities in Turkey.
Due to the refugee issue, Turkey has recently been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. According to WION, 92 refugees were allegedly forced to cross the Evros river from Turkey into Greece earlier this month. Later, they were found nearly nude and battered. At the time, Greek Minister of Civil Protection Takis Theodorikakos accused Turkey of ‘instrumentalizing irregular immigration’ and blamed Turkey for the tragedy, calling it a ‘shame on civilization’.
In an interview with Skai Television, he asserted that numerous refugees informed Frontex, the agency in charge of policing EU borders, that ‘three Turkish army trucks had relocated them’ to the river, which acts as a natural border. Injuries that were ‘visible’ were discovered on the migrants. Though Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s top advisor, issued a statement claiming the accusations made by Greece were untrue, Ankara refuted all of the claims.