Greek coast guard units harassed during migrant patrol

Greek coast guard units harassed during migrant patrol

Turkish patrol boats on Friday morning harassed Greek coast guard vessels while several boats carrying undocumented migrants were trying to enter Greece, authorities said.

A total of six boats carrying a total of 300 people attemped to enter Greek territorial waters near the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos before 7 a.m. on Friday, Hellenic Coast Guard officials said.

Sources said that six Turkish patrol boats were in the area which did nothing to prevent the migrants from crossing into Greece.

According to the same sources, in some cases Turkish vessels harassed Greek coast guard units patrolling the area.

A Turkish navy unit also in the area was not involved in the incident, they added. 

Hellenic Coast Guard later released footage of the incident.

“This morning the Hellenic Coast Guard reported multiple incidents of the Turkish Coast Guard and Navy accompanying flimsy migrant boats to the border of Europe in an effort to provoke an escalation with Greece,” Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said in a statement. 

“It is beyond doubt that these migrants departed Turkish shores and given the fact they were supported by Turkey, were not at risk,” Mitarakis said while calling on Turkey to “stand down and stop this unwarranted provocation.”

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