The discovery of nearly 100 migrants found stripped naked near the border between Greece and Turkey has sparked an angry dispute between the neighbors and calls for an urgent investigation.
The two countries have blamed each other for the apparent mistreatment of the 92 men after images shared on social media shocked people at home and abroad.
The Greek migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, shared a photo showing a group of men with their faces blurred, gathered with all of their clothes removed, some crouching and covering their genitals. NBC News has not independently verified the circumstances surrounding the image’s being taken, and it was unclear why the men were without their clothes.
“Turkey’s behavior toward 92 migrants whom we rescued at the borders today, is a shame for civilization,” he said on Twitter. “We expect Ankara to investigate the incident and protect at last, its borders with the E.U.”
Greek police said they found the men Friday near the Evros river, which acts as a border between Greece and Turkey. Police said that an investigation showed the men had traveled across the river to Greece in rubber dinghies.
Greece’s citizen protection minister, Takis Theodorikakos, said Sunday that the migrants’ accounts suggested that they had been taken there by Turkish military police, according to Reuters.
Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, assisted in the rescue of the 92 men, some of whom had “visible injuries,” spokesperson Katarzyna Volkmann said in an emailed statement.
Frontex immediately flagged that there had been a “potential violation of fundamental rights” to the agency’s fundamental rights office, she added.
İsmail Çatakli, Turkey’s interior minister, rejected the accusation that his country was responsible.
“As you couldn’t find one single case of human rights violation by [Turkey], you just seek to expose image of your cruelty you’ve inflicted as if [Turkey has] done [it]!” he said in a direct response to Mitarachi on Twitter