Disturbing video has emerged of Greek coastguards beating a dinghy full of migrants and opening fire into the water off the coast of Bodrum after Turkey warned it would stop preventing migrants from crossing the Greek border.
In the footage, which was distributed by Turkish authorities, one of the guards can be seen pushing the migrant dinghy away with what looks like a metal rod.
Migrants can be heard shouting as the guard uses the rod to beat them back while another shoots into the air, before the coast guard vessel speeds away.
In a statement to journalists, a Turkish official said Greek coastguards “performed manoeuvres aimed at sinking the rubber boat.”
This video comes shortly after reports on Monday that a child died when a boat carrying 48 people capsized off the Greek coast.
The child has died and another was hospitalised after a boat with 48 people aboard capsized near the island’s coast on Monday morning. A member of the Greek coast guard staff suggested the passengers overturned the boat themselves as they saw the rescue ship approaching, according to local media.
Until now, Turkey had been preventing migrants from crossing into Greece under a deal signed with the EU in 2016. The decision to let them cross came following escalating hostilities in the Syrian province of Idlib where more than 30 Turkish soldiers were killed by a Syrian airstrike last Thursday.
Footage released by the Greek coast guard shows over a dozen migrants aboard an inflatable boat accompanied by a Turkish patrol boat off the coast of Lesbos on the edge of Greece’s territorial waters on Monday.
Police fired tear gas at migrants attempting to cross the land border on Monday after Athens promised that it would implement a policy of maximum “deterrence” at its border and accused Ankara of using migrants “as pawns to exert diplomatic pressure.”
Also, a group of residents of the Greek island of Lesbos tried to prevent migrants from arriving in the country, telling them to go back to their own country.