More refoulements of Turkish asylum seekers in Evros


A few days ago HLHR publicized a complaint that concerned the informal refoulement of Turkish citizens seeking international protection from the state, from Greece back to Turkey. One of them is already held in a Turkish prison, and no further communication with him is possible.

It was submitted to us, on June 2nd, at 09:00, another refoulement took place in Evros by boat. Near Didymoteicho, the Police handed over to a unit of masked gunmen a group of people who had stated they wished to apply for international protection in Greece because of persecution in Turkey. This time the people that were handed over were Mustafa Can, his wife and their four children (one of which is an infant), as well as YılmazErdoğan, FethullahÇatal, and one more man, whose name is still not known. HLHR has in its disposal the license plate numbers of the Greek police van that transferred the asylum seekers.

The informal and forced refoulement of any person is considered an act of violence and is a blatant violation of international law and the international obligations of our country. The systematic, as it has been shown, and coordinated refoulements of dissident asylum seekers who face persecution in their countries, constitutes a political act of unprecedented Machiavellian qualities. We would like to point out that a few days ago the Supreme Court decreed that the 8 Turkish officers will not be extradited, because their extradition could result in “inhumane, ruthless, and cruel treatment”, as well as the possibility of “...treatment that would be demeaning and degrading to their personality, which is in violation of article3 of the European Convention on Human Rights”. In any case it is known that the European Commission in its announcement of November 9th, 2016[1], as well as the UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. N. Melzer, and the UN Committee against Torture[2] have all expressed their concerns about torture and maltreatment in prisons and informal detention facilities in Turkey.

The Hellenic League for Human Rights has already gathered data concerning the aforementioned violations and will continue to do so in order to effect a full investigation of these complaints from the relevant authorities, both national and international. The HLHR has already contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and will bring the matter to the attention of Greek courts and tribunals.

A certain measure of political and diplomatic equilibrium with our neighboring country is understandable. But this equilibrium should not be used to justify a policy that results in “lambs to the slaughter”. The rule of law must never debase in such a degree the value of human life and dignity.



[1] European Commission, Brussels 9.11.2016 SWD (2016) 366 final
[2] Torture: UN expert calls on the Turkish Government to live up to its “zero tolerance” policy, available at:



© HLHR 2020

info [@]
+30 2130264975

Powered by Advalue