Mare Liberum documents and monitors human rights violations against migrants that are regularly committed at the border between Turkey and Greece. Since 2020, there has been a sharp increase in violence at the border. On the one hand, regarding the number, but also regarding the brutality of these incidents.

Journalists, non-governmental organizations, activists, and survivors themselves continue to provide evidence of assaults, harassment, failure to provide assistance, torture, and deaths at the maritime border in the Aegean Sea as well as at the land border in the Evros region carried out by Greek, but also by Turkish officials.

Simultaneously with the release of the OLAF report, outlining severe acts of border violence through Greece condoned by the European Union, another horrifying incident catches our attention. The recently published incident, on October 14, in which 92 migrants were forced across the border from Turkey to Greece by Turkish border police, carrying neither clothing nor luggage, with some persons showing traces of physical abuse, is just the most recent of countless incidents. It is only the tip of the iceberg of border violence that takes place on Greek and Turkish territories.

When these crimes are publicly commented on by members of the Greek and Turkish governments, it quickly reverts to basic accusations of a long conflict over responsibilities and territorial rights. People on the move are merely a pawn in this power struggle, their safety rarely plays a role in that conversation. A bilateral conflict is being fought on the backs of people seeking protection.

We demand an investigation into this incident, immediate action against the continuously exercised violence by the responsible Member State Greece but also consequences for Turkey. In the past, the European Union has failed to impose actions to end violence at the EU borders and is thus complicit in the suffering of the 92 persons but also hundreds more as the OLAF report shows.

The EU Commission must ensure that consequences for the resort to violence at the borders will follow for both countries. Immediate measures must be implemented to prevent Greece and Turkey from continuing to commit human rights crimes against protection seekers.

We demand:

  • The implementation of an independent mechanism to monitor and investigate border violence
  • The immediate end of funding for border management measures that lead to deterrence and externalisation
  • The immediate termination of Frontex deployment in the border area between Greece and Turkey    
  • The termination of funding isolationist imprisonment camps

Mare Liberum i. A.

Gneisenaustraße 2a
10961 Berlin