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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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Footage from this morning shows Turkish coastguard 'attacking' migrant dinghy

There were 20 men, 15 children and five women on the boat that was attacked.

FOOTAGE OF THE Turkish coastguard attacking an inflatable migrant dinghy with children on board was captured by a Channel 4 journalist this morning.

The shocking photos and video were taken on the high seas mid-channel between Turkey and Greece.

Twenty men, 15 children and five women were on the boat that was attacked.

Journalist Alex Thomson was with Migrants Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) when he witnessed the incident.

Speaking to Newstalk lunchtime he said, “We witnessed a battle for survival on the high seas it’s fair to say.

“The Turkish coastguard were there and sent of a fast inflatable which attacked the boat for about 10 or 15 minutes with long poles.

I think they were trying to destabilise or disable the engine but of course they hit people, it was a very overcrowded dinghy.
The Turkish coastguard denied similar accusations last week after the BBC released footage captured by migrants which showed the coastguard trying to stop a boat with sticks.
In a statement the coastguard said, “Maximum attention was applied during the whole process to not to harm the migrants.”

When asked what the coastguard was trying to do this morning, Thomson said:

I don’t believe anybody out there this morning was trying to kill people. They were trying to persuade the migrants to go back to Turkey, they were trying to stop their boat.
“It is undeniably, incredibly dangerous and highly unprofessional to do what they did.”

He said the actions taken could have caused people to fall into the sea and be injured.

It comes as the European Union and Turkish leaders are closing in on an agreement to send thousands of migrants arriving in Greece back to Turkey.

The new arrangements could come into force as soon as Sunday. Thomson said:

There has been a period of gales for the past few days, those winds have now dropped so you’re seeing a backlog of people coming across, around 250 crossed in this area in the island of Samos just in the past 24 hours and you’re going to see more and more of that.

“What we’re seeing at the moment is that a lot of people will come anyway because they’ve already paid the people traffickers.”

Read: EU leaders agree on controversial “one for one” plan to solve migrant crisis>

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