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Turkey accuses Greece of turning back 80,000 refugees, breaking the law

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FM MP Yavuz Selim Kiran said Ankara shared evidence of Greece’s illegal push-backs with international organizations, including the EU.

A young refugee holds a sign as she walks with health workers during a protest in Athens, Greece on February 23, 2021.

A young refugee holds a sign as she walks with health workers at a protest in Athens, Greece on February 23, 2021 (AFP)

Greece, in flagrant violation of a fundamental principle of the asylum law, has returned more than 80,000 refugees to Turkey over the past three years, said Turkey’s deputy foreign minister.

In a speech at the seminar on human trafficking and refugee law organized by the Turkish Academy of Justice, a state body that trains prosecutors and judges, Yavuz Selim Kiran underlined the importance of international and regional cooperation to provide decent conditions for refugees.

“However, some countries do not hesitate to violate the essential principles of international law. We note with regret that one of the fundamental principles of refugee law, the principle of non-refoulement, has been violated. Over the past three years , Greece has pushed back more than 80,000 refugees returning to our country, ”Kiran said.

Drawing attention to Turkey’s responsibility for the recent humanitarian crisis which resulted in an influx of refugees, Kiran said: “Turkey is the country hosting the most refugees in the world. Currently, more than 4 million refugees, including about 3.6 million from Syria, live in Turkey. “

“Turkey is also providing much needed humanitarian aid to around 9 million Syrian refugees in the country and to displaced people in Syria,” he added.

Kiran said, “I want to make a point here. We are mobilizing all of our resources to not only open doors for those who escape oppression and persecution but also to improve the living conditions of these people.”

“Turkey has spent more than 40 billion dollars just on Syrian refugees,” he added.

Drawing attention to the fact that the humanitarian crisis in Syria is a global problem, Kiran said, “Neighboring countries cannot be left alone to bear the full burden of this crisis.

In this regard, we reiterate our call to the international community for an equitable burden-sharing. We say that the needs of refugees can only be permanently met through international cooperation. Unfortunately, we cannot say that these calls have received a sufficient response until today, ”he added.

READ MORE: Why Europe should help stem the refugee crisis with Turkey

The EU double standard

The Turkish president also criticized the EU’s double standard of supporting Greece on the issue of migrants but not sharing responsibility for 4 million refugees hosted by Turkey.

“While the EU gives Greece 3 billion euros ($ 3.65 billion) for 100,000 refugees, it has failed to take responsibility for 4 million refugees in Turkey,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan , during a conference on migration at a university in the Turkish province of Izmir.

An amount of € 6 billion ($ 7.3 billion) to be allocated to Turkey under a March 2016 deal is still not fully released, he said.

He added that refugees along the Turkish-Greek border have been openly persecuted by Greek security forces, resulting in shameful scenes.

“Humanity has failed (the migrants) not only in the Mediterranean, but also in the Aegean Sea and the Meric River,” he said, citing the river along the Turkish-Greek border, stressing that in 2020 alone, the Greek coast guard committed 9,000 cases of illegal refoulement of asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea.

“What happened in Syria has shown us that raising walls, fencing borders with barbed wire or even sinking migrant boats are not solutions,” he said.

Highlighting his country’s efforts on behalf of the refugees and the Syrian people, Erdogan said 420,000 refugees from the country had so far returned to areas that Turkey cleared of terrorists.

READ MORE:
Erdogan: 25,000 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean in eight years

Turkey’s fight against terrorism

Erdogan said about 85% of the world’s refugee population is not hosted by wealthy states but by less developed countries.

“According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, only 39,500 refugees out of 1.4 million awaiting placement in third countries in the world in 2020 have been resettled in 25 Western countries,” he said. -he declares.

For more than 500 years, the Turkish people have welcomed refugees, welcoming migrants from diverse cultures and religions, he said.

“We have not refused anyone who has come to our borders for their ethnic identity, religion, culture, disposition or sect.”

Criticizing US support for the YPG / PKK terrorist group, he said, “They don’t care about refugees but still support terrorism and terrorists.”

“What kind of allies are these two countries (Turkey and the United States) in NATO?”

“Turkey will continue to fight terrorism and terrorists everywhere, and will only open its heart [to those friends] as long as they act as friends, ”he added.

During its more than 35-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK, classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, was responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK.

The YPG / PKK have been documented as persecuting Syrians, including many potential refugees, in northern Syria along Turkey’s southern border.

READ MORE: Turkish Foreign Minister denounces EU indifference to Syrian refugee crisis

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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