The Greek government is “holding an inquiry” into video footage reportedly showing the forceful expulsion of migrants who are set adrift at sea, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Tuesday.
“I... take this incident very seriously,” he told the broadcaster CNN. “It is already being investigated by my government.”
The footage, published Friday by The New York Times, shows what appear to be masked men on April 11 accosting migrants — including a baby — who had arrived in Greece by boat and bundling them in a van.
In the video, the migrants are then taken out into the Aegean Sea, transferred to an inflatable raft and set adrift.
Turkish coast guard boats are seen rescuing them around an hour later.
The UN High Commission on human rights and the EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson have demanded a full investigation.
The video added to growing documentation by media and rights groups suggesting that Greek authorities are involved in multiple “pushbacks” of migrants — which are illegal under international refugee law.
The Greek government has rejected the accusations, and Mitsotakis said that what was shown in the video was “completely unacceptable practice.”
He repeated accusations that Turkish coast guards “aggressively push people desperate people on basically inflatable boats ... pushing them into our territory.”
The interview took place two days after his conservative New Democracy party came out on top in national elections but failed to secure an absolute majority.