Avramopoulos urged to investigate refoulement allegations


Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament, has urged European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos to investigate allegations of refoulement of Turkish asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey.

According to the Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR), Turkish citizens have on at least two occasions crossed the Evros river on the border between Greece and Turkey, asking for Greek authorities to be allowed to apply for asylum. However, they were in both cases detained by Greek police forces and returned back to Turkey where they were immediately imprisoned, facing political persecution.

“If true, these would mean appalling violation of the most basic principles of international law by the Greek authorities,” Verhofstadt said in a letter to Avramopoulos on Wednesday.

“I would like to urge you to investigate these cases and ensure that Greece – and all other member states – fully meet their obligations under international and European law, including when it comes to the rights of Turkish citizens fleeing political persecution and seeking asylum in the EU,” he said.