Greek coastguard denies it 'sank migrant boat'

Greece coastguard denies Turkish allegations it pierced dinghy with lance, forcing Turkey to save 60 Syrian migrants on board.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Boat (illustration)
Boat (illustration)
Flash 90

Video filmed by the Turkish coastguard on November 12 and released this week appears to show a Greek coastguard member attempting to sink a rubber dinghy with up to 60 Syrian migrants on board.

The Turkish government says the video shows the Greek coastguard intentionally trying to sink the boat in the Aegean Sea using a lance or sharp pole. Reuters reports the Turkish government issued a complaint to Greek officials with the footage's release this week.

After the inflatable dinghy starts to sink, the Greek boat is seen sailing away in the video, leaving the Turkish coastguard to save the migrants and take them back to the Turkish city of Didim.

Turkish coastguard Commander Rear Admiral Hakan Ustem sent a message to his Greek counterpart, saying, "we would be very pleased if you order your team to refrain from such acts.”

Greek commander Athanasios Athanasopulos was "shocked" by the footage and promised to take action, according to officials quoted by the Turkish Hurriyet.

The Hellenic Coastguard, however, adamantly denied all of Turkey's allegations, including that it had attempted to sink the boat, or that there was any such exchange on the matter between the Heads of the Coastguards of Greece and Turkey. 

"The Hellenic Coastguard categorically denies the articles in the foreign press, as well as the doctored audiovisual material on a foreign website, according to which a Hellenic Coastguard vessel allegedly tried to sink a boat carrying refugees," it said in a statement to Arutz Sheva.

"We believe it to be at the very least contradictory to allege that the Hellenic Coastguard supposedly follows such practices, which are incompatible with the values of our culture and which are condemnable at a time when the Hellenic Coastguard, from early 2015 until today, has saved some 90,000 refugees from the sea in Search and Rescue operations."



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