Hundreds of migrants attempted to reach the islands of the eastern Aegean en masse with inflatable boats from Friday until early Monday morning, according to data released by the Hellenic Coast Guard headquarters. More specifically, more than 1,100 migrants boarded inflatable boats on Turkish shores and tried to move cross into Greek territorial waters in the direction of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Rhodes.
In total, during the last three days, the coast guard was called to intercept 24 incidents, most of them off Lesvos.
“Off Lesvos alone, 745 migrants attempted to enter Greek territorial waters in 16 incidents,” the statement said, adding that all 24 boats with migrants were located before entering Greek territorial waters, and that “all foreign passengers were collected by the Turkish Coast Guard.”
According to statistics from the Hellenic Coast Guard, in the period between June 21 and June 27, 3,534 people were prevented from entering the country, specifically via the islands of the eastern Aegean. Another 3,515 were prevented in May.
An indication of the situation is the comparison of data in the first four months of the year compared to the corresponding period last year.
The entry of about 4,000 immigrants and refugees was prevented between January and April in 2021 compared to a staggering 12,000 in the same period this year.
Despite the tripling of the immigration pressure, however, Hellenic Coast Guard officials are as of yet not talking about the instrumentalization of migration from neighboring Turkey.
“We will talk about instrumentalization if in the next period we face on a daily basis a pressure corresponding to that of the last three days,” one Hellenic Coast Guard official said, who also added that 5,000 refugees and migrants have gathered on the opposite Turkish coast.