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Turkey: EU should focus on Syria, not the Greece border

Irregular migrants move towards the border in Edirne, Turkey to reach Greece on March 03, 2020. [Gökhan Balcı - Anadolu Agency]
Irregular migrants move towards the border in Edirne, Turkey to reach Greece on March 03, 2020. [Gökhan Balcı - Anadolu Agency]

Turkey's communications director has condemned the European Union for showing preference to Greece's border issue instead of the humanitarian crisis in north-west Syria from which it stems.

In a series of posts on Twitter today, Fahrettin Altun said:

Greece treats refugees horribly and then turns around to blame Turkey. This is the kind of double standards and hypocrisy we have gotten used to over the years.

He stressed that the refugee crisis, which the EU and Greece find themselves in now, is primarily due to the approach to the situation in Syria over the past few years. "The EU's agreement with Turkey in 2016 aimed at preventing the refugee flows into Europe based on the same security-focused mentality instead of a humanitarian one," he said.

Altun said that the deal struck that year, in which Turkey agreed to prevent refugees from crossing into the continent in return for money and aid to help it deal with the refugees it was housing, was not honoured on the part of the Union. "Even then, the EU failed in honoring its commitments in terms of funding, visa liberalization among others."

A bloodbath on the border is not the solution to the Syrian refugee crisis

This, he said, forced Turkey to bear the burden itself, both in terms of the refugee crisis and the conflict in Syria from which it is rooted. While the EU did not prevent the cause of the crisis, "We have mobilized our national economic and military resources and the EU is still only focused on migration into Europe!"

Altun insisted that Europe, as well as the international community, should be willing to help prevent the humanitarian crisis in Idlib and to halt the Syrian regime's offensive, saying: "The international community must focus on its efforts on Syria, not Greece!"

The communications director's comments come almost a week after Turkey opened its border with Idlib to displaced Syrians and refugees and allowed them to make their way to Europe. Since then, over 100,000 refugees from Syria and other countries have amassed on the Turkish-Greek border to attempt to make their way into Europe, with the Greek border and naval guards committing desperate and brutal acts to prevent their entrance. One refugee died on Monday as a result of the Greek border guards' firing of tear gas canisters.

As the refugee crisis in Syria worsens, history will record the failures of great democracies

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EUEurope & RussiaGreeceMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkey
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