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Turkish coastguards beating refugees with poles, video shows

A refugee carries a child as they arrive on the shores of the Greek island Lesbos in an inflatable dingy across the Aegean Sea from Turkey on September 3, 2015. (AFP)

Shocking footage has emerged showing Turkish coastguards attacking a boat full of refugees on their way to the Greek island of Lesbos.

The state-funded BBC released footage of the incident which reportedly took place in Turkish waters early on Saturday.

In the 30-second video, the Turkish coastguard members can be seen using poles against a group of life jacket clad asylum seekers in a rubber boat.

The incident was confirmed by a Turkish official who claimed the forces were trying to stop the craft’s engine "without harming the refugees."

The official added that it was standard procedure to secure refugee vessels and bring them back to Turkey.

The EU is facing its worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II.In 2015, over a million people entered Europe, mostly via Greece through Turkey.

On March 7, the Turkish government proposed to take back all those refugees who cross into Europe from its soil in return for more money, faster EU membership talks and quicker visa-free travel.

Most European Union leaders have welcomed the initiative, although it is yet to be agreed upon. Critics have, however, accused Turkey of blackmailing Europe into letting it join the EU.

The deal has already triggered concerns among rights advocates while governments and international organizations have blasted it as inhumane.

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