Greek police on Thursday announced that they’ve notified Turkish authorities of a group of roughly 40 third country nationals reportedly stuck on a shoal in the middle of the Evros/Maritsa River, which separates the two countries in the northeast Thrace province, stressing that the speck of land is not Greek territory.

The Greek side called on Turkey’s border patrol to offer emergency help to the group.

Several NGOs, attorneys and even foreign news outlets, particularly German media, have over the past few days stepped up pressure on Athens evacuate the group towards Greek territory. The latter are deemed as would-be migrants attempting to enter EU member-state Greece in an irregular manner from neighboring Turkey.

In a statement, Greek Police (EL.AS) headquarters in Athens said coordinates provided by pro-migration NGOs show the islet as outside Greek territory and responsibility.

Stepped up maritime patrols in the eastern Aegean have significantly dented migrant trafficking from Turkey to a handful of Greek isles over the past few years, which at the height of the migrant/refugee crisis in 2015 saw more than one million foreign nationals haphazardly land on Greek territory, mostly Syrian asylum seekers at the time.

Over recent days, Athens forwarded the coordinates of the group’s location to Turkish authorities at a trilateral contact center at the Kapitan Andreevo border post, calling on Ankara to evacuate the would-be migrants.

The specific center was established in May 2015 between Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria where three countries’ borders converge.

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