The Turkish Foreign Ministry has registered its official protest with Athens over video images taken by the Turkish coast guards of Greek coast guard boats dropping Afghani refugees in rubber dinghys into Turkish coastline waters. The video images were recorded in July 2004, and again this year in late May, and show Greek coast guard boats coming from the Greek islands of Samos and Lesbos leaving groups of Afghani refugees to drift towards Kusadasi and Ayvalik.
In the latest of the video images shot from a Turkish coast guard helicopter, a Greek vessel approaches Turkish waters from the island of Lesbos early in the morning of May 27, 2006. Stopping about 700 meters off the Ayvalik coastline, the Greek coast guard boat lowers a rubber dinghy into the water, and transfers 6 Afghani refugees into the dinghy without so much as a paddle. The 6 Afhgani refugees are then seen paddling with their hands to reach the shoreline.
According to Turkish police forces, Greece's practice of dropping illegal refugees into Turkey picked up in earnest after 2003. As many as 5,800 refugees having been brought to the Turkish borders, in what is a clear infraction of international law.