World, Europe

Turkish special team of 1,000 police deployed on Greek border

Turkey brings fully-equipped special police team to prevent push-backs, country's interior minister says

Faruk Zorlu   | 05.03.2020
Turkish special team of 1,000 police deployed on Greek border FILE PHOTO

Ankara

ANKARA

 Turkey has deployed 1,000 special operations police along the Turkish-Greek land border, the country's interior minister said on Thursday.  

"We are bringing fully-equipped special police team of 1,000 throughout the Meric River to prevent push-backs" of asylum-seekers to Turkey, Suleyman Soylu said in Turkey's northwestern Edirne province, bordering Greece and Bulgaria. 

   

Interior Minister Soylu speaks to media after inspecting Turkey-Greece border from the air, in Edirne, Turkey 

Criticizing the policy of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) on the Turkey-Greece border, Soylu said: "Frontex is working like a law enforcement agency."

A total of 4,900 asylum-seekers were tried to be sent back to Turkey and 164 were injured, which was a violation of the right to asylum, he noted. 

No one objected to this violation of the right to asylum, including Frontex and the EU, he said, adding: "This is one of the biggest violations."

Last week, Turkish officials announced they would no longer try to stop asylum-seekers from reaching Europe. 

Since then, thousands of asylum-seekers have flocked to Edirne, along the borders with Greece and Bulgaria, to make their way into Europe. 

The decision was made after 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred by Assad regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria last week. 

The Turkish soldiers were working to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region. 

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

Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.

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