Greece Releases Footage of Turkish Coastguard Escorting Migrant Boats Towards Greek Islands

Hellenic Coastguard via YouTube

Greece has released footage which they claim shows Turkish coastguard vessels escorting illegal migrant boats as they make their way toward Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

The footage includes video from two separate incidents that took place in the last few days off the Greek island of Lesbos, and show Turkish vessels close by illegal migrant boats as they sail toward Greece’s territorial waters.

According to a report in Greek newspaper Proto Thema, the Greek coastguard has recently deployed technology that allows it to locate and track migrant boats as they leave the Turkish coast and inform Turkish authorities of any incidents that occur in their territorial waters.

On Thursday, a boat containing 32 migrants, mostly Africans and Afghani nationals, arrived on Lesbos during the afternoon. The boat was the first to arrive on the island this month, while arrivals to other islands have stopped since March — likely due to Chinese coronavirus restrictions in Turkey.

All 32 migrants who arrived this week will also undergo medical tests for the Wuhan virus and will be quarantined at the Megala Therma camp on the north of the island.

Last month, two migrants who arrived on the island tested positive for the virus and some expressed concerns that the Turkish authorities may be purposely sending migrants infected with the coronavirus to Greece.

Greek journalist Lygeros Stavros was among those who feared Turkey may send coronavirus-infected migrants, saying: “everything leads to the conclusion that the Turkish state has consciously orchestrated an informal biological warfare attack against Greece.”

For several months, Greece has attempted to alleviate the overcrowded migrant camps on its islands by transferring some migrants to the Greek mainland.

Some communities have expressed anger over the new mainland migrant camps, however, such as the small town of Malakassa — which has just 514 residents contending with a migrant camp of around 3,000 people.

Plans to move more migrants may be stalled due to increased opposition from locals, with a plan for a new camp in Nea Peramos being actively resisted by the local community.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.