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Turkey reinforces security at Greek borders to protect migrants' transfer

Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu meets with asylum seekers waiting at the Pazarkule Border Gate as he Suleyman Soylu inspects the Turkish-Greek border in Edirne, Turkey on 5 March 2020 [Hakan Mehmet Şahin - Anadolu Agency]
Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu meets with asylum seekers waiting at the Pazarkule Border Gate as he Suleyman Soylu inspects the Turkish-Greek border in Edirne, Turkey on 5 March 2020 [Hakan Mehmet Şahin - Anadolu Agency]

Turkey is deploying 1,000 special police forces along its border with Greece to halt pushback migrants towards Europe, the country's interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, announced yesterday.

Speaking to reporters in Turkey's northwestern border province of Edirne, Soylu explained that the Greek police had wounded the scores of migrants as they were attempting to cross the border. "They [Greek police] wounded 164 people and tried to push 4,900 people back to Turkey," he said. "We [Turkey] are deploying 1,000 special force police to the border system to prevent the pushback," the minister reiterated.

Soylu's comments come amid disputes between Ankara and Athens following Turkey's decision to no longer abide by a 2016 deal with the European Union (EU) to halt illegal migration flows to Europe in return for billions of euros in aid. Since then, thousands of migrants have rushed to the Turkish border with Greece in hopes of crossing into Europe. Syrian refugees are residing along with the Turkish-Greek borders face harsh conditions.

The Greek authorities have been using force against migrants who try to infiltrate into its territory. Ankara has accused Greek authorities of shooting dead and injuring migrants near the border. Athens has rejected the accusations, saying that the Turkish police were "helping migrants cross the border illegally."

Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees and has said it couldn't handle the situation anymore. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with EU officials on Wednesday to discuss developments in Syria and the migrants flooding at the European borders. Erdogan's spokesman later said that there was "no concrete proposition" was made on the matter.

Read: Punch up in the Turkish Parliment

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EUEurope & RussiaGreeceMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkey
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