Access to the territory and push backs



Greek Council for Refugees

A number of push backs have been reported, since the previous update of the AIDA report in November 2015, on the Greek-Turkish land border. Two cases have been reported by detainees at the Reception and Identification Centre of Fylakio, Evros, concerning alleged push backs through the Evros River in November 2015.1 Moreover, a practice of preventing the crossing of Evros river borders (αποτροπή διέλευσης) has been reported. The President of the Union of the Evros Border Police is reported to have mentioned in May 2016 that “this is happening when we see them in the river and we do not allow them to reach the Greek coast of Evros but we channel them to return in Turkey. Daily there are more than a number of 10 ‘preventions’ and in a day they can reach the number of 20.”2

Cases of third-country nationals who had formally expressed before the Greek authorities the intention to seek asylum and were readmitted to Turkey without their application being properly registered and examined have also been reported on the islands since the entry into force of the EU-Turkey statement (see Registration: Access to Asylum).

  • 1. The first case concerns a Syrian woman who alleged that, after entering the Greek territory through Evros River along with a group of about 70 persons and having walked for about seven hours, they were arrested by the Greek police and returned to Turkey by boat. The second concerns the allegation of a Syrian minor of 15 years old who stated that, while entering the Greek territory with a group of 40 persons, they were returned to Turkey by boat after being detected by the Greek police. See GCR, Field Report: Evros, October 2015 – May 2016, available in Greek at:, 6.
  • 2. Real News, ‘Άφησαν τα νησιά και… έπιασαν τον Έβρο’, 15 May 2016, available in Greek at:, 46. Unofficial translation by the author.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti