Greek authorities ordered pushback to Turkey, documents show


Internal emails obtained by EUobserver show that the Greek authorities ordered that a group of people be pushed back to Turkey. The case came to public attention earlier this year when a Danish coast guard vessel operating in the Aegean as part of a Frontex mission refused to carry out the orders. Despite mounting evidence, the Greek government continues to deny that its officials have ever been involved in any form of pushback, and the revelations also raise questions for EU border agency Frontex.

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Revealed: Official Greek order to illegally pushback migrants (EUobserver, link):

"A redacted chain email from the EU's border agency, Frontex, made available following a freedom of information request, clearly shows that the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) received orders to push migrants back into Turkish territorial waters.


The email, dated 6 March 2020, describes an incident where the Danish coast guard refused orders to force migrants and asylum seekers on a small boat near the Greek island coastline back to Turkey.

Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri has repeatedly described that incident as a "misunderstanding", telling the European Parliament that it was an isolated incident.

But the nine-page Frontex email chain casts that assessment into doubt, given it was direct order."

Further reading

20 November 2020

Addicted to denial: Greek government dismisses official report documenting pushbacks to Turkey

19 November 2020

European Ombudsman to investigate human rights violations at Croatian borders

17 November 2020

Frontex: will a Management Board "sub-group" find the truth about pushbacks?

05 November 2020

Pullback to Turkey organised by Greek official on German boat as part of Frontex operation

Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error