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Over 130,000 refugees leave Turkey to get to Europe

Greek riot police push back irregular migrants trying to reach the port in Lesbos Island in hopes of getting on a ferry to Athens, in Lesbos, Greece on 3 March 2020. [Ayhan Mehmet - Anadolu Agency]
Greek riot police push back irregular migrants trying to reach the port in Lesbos Island in hopes of getting on a ferry to Athens, in Lesbos, Greece on 3 March 2020. [Ayhan Mehmet - Anadolu Agency]

More than 130,000 refugees have left Turkey via its north-west border town of Edirne to cross into Greece, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has revealed on Twitter.

Turkish officials accuse the EU of breaking its promise to help refugees in Turkey, as well as help the government in Ankara to stem the tide. As a result, Turkey is no longer trying to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe, Anadolu has reported.

The decision was made after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed by regime forces in the north-west Syrian province of Idlib late last month. Since then, thousands of irregular migrants have flocked to Edirne to make their way into Europe.

READ: UN rapporteur blasts Greek mistreatment of migrants

Yesterday, Germany called for further talks between the EU and Turkey to address the refugee crisis more effectively amid escalating tensions in Idlib. Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said that they were well aware of the criticism levelled by Ankara on the implementation of the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee agreement.

"We must talk with Turkey on these issues," Seibert insisted. "We must also talk about the additional concerns and burden due to the hundreds of thousands of displaced people in Syria." This was a reference to the humanitarian crisis in Idlib.

The UN refugee agency also said on Monday that Greece had no right to stop accepting asylum applications even if Athens is struggling to cope with a sudden increase of arrivals at its border with Turkey, reported Reuters.

Turkey, which already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees, more than any country in the world, says it cannot absorb another refugee wave.

Germany urges EU-Turkey talks on refugee crisis

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