Turkey Deploys 1,000 Police at Greek Border to Stem Pushback of Migrants

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu added that 164 migrants had been wounded by Greek authorities who are also trying to push the migrants back

Reuters
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Migrants gather between Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, and Kastanies border gate, Evros, as they try to enter Greece, Saturday, February 29, 2020
Migrants gather between Pazarkule border gate, Edirne, Turkey, and Kastanies border gate, Evros, as they try to enter Greece, Saturday, February 29, 2020Credit: Emrah Gurel,AP
Reuters

Turkey is deploying 1,000 special police forces along its border with Greece on Thursday to halt the pushback of migrants towards its territory, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, adding that 164 migrants had been wounded by Greek authorities.

"They wounded 164 people. They tried to push 4,900 people back to Turkey," Soylu told reporters in the northwestern border province of Edirne. "We are deploying 1,000 special force police to the border system... to prevent the push-back," he said.

Read more: Turkey, Syria and the new migrant crisis at Europe's borders | Explained

Greece has repulsed nearly 35,000 migrants trying to cross onto its territory illegally since Turkey opened its border nearly a week ago, government sources said on Thursday, as it prepares to deport hundreds of others who made it through.

Thousands of migrants have made for Greece since Ankara said on Feb. 28 that it would let migrants cross its borders into Europe, reneging on a commitment to hold them on its territory under a 2016 deal with the European Union.

Hundreds have made it into Greece, many by sea to Lesbos and other Greek islands. Ankara and Athens are accusing each other of using excessive force in the border area, where migrants have clashed with security forces in recent days.

The situation at the Kastanies border crossing, where Greek and Turkish riot police both used tear gas on Wednesday, was calm on Thursday morning. Migrants huddled in tents and makeshift camps on the Turkish side of the border.

Greek border guards rebuffed nearly 7,000 attempts in the last 24 hours alone, taking the total since Feb. 29 to 34,778 and the number of arrests of those who got through to 244, the Greek government sources said.

Migrants who arrived in Greece illegally after March 1 will be transferred to the northern city of Serres and deported back to their own countries, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said late on Wednesday.

"Our aim is to return them to their countries," he told the Athens News Agency.

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