“We did not want to put our children through all that so to protect them, we preferred to return directly. The ship chased us until we had returned to Turkish waters.”

  • Date and time: August 24, 2020 02:30
  • Location: Greek waters off of Kos
  • Coordinates: 36.924980262515, 27.311825192773
  • Push-back from: Greece
  • Push-back to: Turkey
  • Demographics: 18 person(s), age: 3-50 years old , from: Palestine, Syria, DR Congo, Somalia
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), puncturing dinghy
  • Police involved: Minimum 4 men dressed in black with balaclavas
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: josoor

Original Report

On August 24, a group of 18 people, amongst them three children, left Bodrum at 2.30 am in the direction of the island of Kos.

Directly after entering the Greek waters, a ship with three officers approached them. The ship had been waiting in the dark. The respondent reported the presence of two other smaller ships with hoisted Greek flag, but none of them interacted with them. The bigger ship that had been waiting at the border between the Greek and Turkish waters was described as a “war ship”, without a flag or a label. The officers, minimum 4, were wearing black clothes and balaclavas. The respondent recognized them as wearing the same uniform as officers who had violently pushed back him on the land border several months ago. He remembers that they spoke German with each other then, and therefore supposed they also spoke German in this pushback but did not actually hear them speak it this time.

The masked men told them to stop and tried to cut holes into their dinghy with something the respondent described as a long stick with a knife on top. They also attempted to hit the group with it, but the driver managed to flee. All of the passengers insisted that they wanted to return to Turkey so they drove back.

The respondent says he was well aware of what would have happened if they would not have been able to escape, describing that they would have taken their belongings away, beat them and finally returned them on life rafts.

He said: “We did not want to put our children through all that so to protect them, we preferred to return directly. The ship chased us until we had returned to Turkish waters.” They returned to Bodrum where the Turkish police apprehended them and issued travel permits so they could return to Izmir.