ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek police have rescued a group of 92 illegal migrants who were discovered naked, and some with injuries, close to its northern border with Turkey, police said.
The migrants, all men, were discovered close to the Evros river that marks the border between Greece and Turkey on Friday, Greek police said in a statement.
An investigation by Greek police and officials from the EU border agency Frontex, found evidence that the migrants crossed the river into Greek territory in rubber dinghies from Turkey, police said.
“Border policemen…discovered 92 illegal migrants without clothes, some of whom had injuries on their bodies,” the statement said. It was not clear how and why the men had lost their clothes.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said in a tweet that Turkey’s treatment of the migrants was a “shame for civilisation”. He said Athens expected Ankara to investigate the incident.
Turkish authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Greece was on the frontline of a European migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, when around a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in the country, mainly via Turkey.
The number of arrivals has fallen since then. But Greek authorities said they had recently seen an increase in attempted arrivals through the Turkish land border and the Greek islands.
Greece has urged Turkey to respect a 2016 deal with the European Union in which Ankara agreed to contain the flow of migrants to Europe in exchange for billions of euros in aid.
Turkey says it has ramped up measures to prevent people smuggling.
Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou Editing by Ros Russell