3 migrants found frozen to death near Turkish-Greek border

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A lifebelt is seen on the beach of the port of Lesbos island on April 16, 2015. Since Greece bolstered controls along its land border with Turkey, along the Evros River, illegal immigrants have turned to the maritime route between Turkey and the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, notably Lesbos, Samos, Kos and Chios. 2015 started with a major increase in the number of Aegean crossings: 10,445 against 2,863 in the same period of 2014, according to the Greek port police. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

The bodies of three migrants believed to have frozen to death were found in three separate Turkish border villages, AFP reported on Tuesday.

The first body of an Afghan migrant was discovered close to the border with Greece in the village of Serem in the northwestern province of Edirne, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The two other migrants were found in nearby villages — Akçadam and Adasarhanlı — days after they had died, but their nationalities were not provided.

Turkish officials believe the three migrants froze to death, but their bodies have been sent to Istanbul for autopsy.

Authorities caught an Afghan man, Jamaluddin Malangi, who told Anadolu in Edirne that Greek police sent him back to Turkey on a boat across the Evros River, which marks the border between Greece and Turkey.

The area is a major crossing point for refugees and migrants trying to enter the European Union.

Malangi, who claimed he knew one of the migrants found dead, said they sought help after crossing into Greece by knocking on doors.

“We wanted help, and during this someone must have called the police, and Greek police officers came and caught us. First they took us to the police station, then they took us near the river, where there were two boats,” Malangi was quoted by Anadolu as saying.

“We were sent back to Turkey after being put on them [the boats].” he added.

It was not clear whether the migrants found dead were part of the same group who entered Greece with Malangi or had separately tried to enter the EU member-state.

According to Greek authorities, over 14,000 irregular entries have been recorded across the Turkish border so far this year, compared to some 5,500 in 2017.

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