Turks obstructed Greek rescue operation of illegal immigrants near Rhodes

21 February 2018
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A Turkish helicopter-plane and a helicopter hindered a Greek coastguard boat as it was attempting to rescue illegal immigrants near the island of Rhodes, according to local news outlet dimokratiki.gr.

More specifically, on Tuesday morning, February 19, 2018, the port authorities were informed by a man called “ALI” about a high-speed boat carrying irregular immigrants that was heading towards Faliraki, Rhodes.
A rescue boat patrolling nearby was immediately dispatched to the exact location to investigate the region.
At 6 o’clock a half-submerged white high-speed craft, flying a Turkish flag was spotted, with fifteen foreigners on board, who were in immediate need of aid.

Amid bad weather conditions, the rescue process started. At that point the two Turkish aircraft performed extremely risky maneuvres, endangering the crew and the immigrant while making it impossible for the Greek coast guard vessel to tow the half-sunk boat.

Shortly after the Greek boat sailed to the Mandrakis port, where the survivors were dropped off in safety at the Central Port Authority of Rhodes where they were arrested.

There the identified a 33-year-old man as the as the high-speed boat operator that transported them from the Turkish coast to Rhodes.

“Based on their depositions to the port authorities and local media reports in dimokratiki.gr, the illegal immigrants came into contact with human traffickers in Constantinople, who asked them to go to Fethiye about three days ago. Then, on the afternoon of 18 February 2018, they were transported by truck from the hotel where they were staying, to a remote place outside Fethiye. There they boarded a high-speed boat and departed around 9 in the evening on Sunday for Rhodes. The illegal immigrants paid between $ 1,450 and $ 6,000 to the traffickers.

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