The Turkish authorities must not forcibly return a group of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers who are currently being held in a camp against their will, after surviving a shipwreck in a boat that they say was shot at by the Turkish coastguard, said Amnesty International today.
A group of 250 mostly Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers and refugees were travelling from Turkey to Greece’s Aegean islands on 15 September. Several refugees told Amnesty International that the Turkish coastguard fired shots at their boat, which then sank. At least 22 died, including children.
“If the accounts of those on the boat are confirmed, Turkey may be responsible for the deaths of 22 people. The lack of humanity displayed by the Turkish authorities in this case is almost inconceivable. To shoot at a boat carrying people fleeing conflict and then to detain those who survived the resulting shipwreck is callous beyond belief,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.