Turkey is deploying 1,000 special police forces along its border with Greece to halt the pushback of migrants towards its territory

World Sergey Matyunin 05-Mar-2020
migrant clashes with police in Greece
ID 144044088 © Vasilis Ververidis | Dreamstime.com

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.

Thousands of refugees have massed at the border and around the Greek islands since Erdogan last week tore up a 2016 deal with the EU to keep the migrants in Turkey in return for cash aid to help with the influx from northwest Syria.

Earlier Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded EU help for his military action in Syria in return for ending the migrant crisis on Turkey’s border with Greece.

Erdogan said Europe had to support Turkey’s “political and humanitarian solutions in Syria” if it wanted to resolve the situation.

Government spokesman Ibrahim Kalin denied this was blackmail.

“Our objective by opening the doors was not to create an artificial crisis, to place political pressure or to serve our interests,” he said, but Turkey’s capacity “has a limit.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European Council president Charles Michel met Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, and pledged an additional 170 million euros in aid for vulnerable groups in Syria.

But Turkish spokesman Kalin urged the EU to produce a “road map” for the management of the funds.

Borrell said the EU recognized the “difficult situation Turkey is facing” but Turkey’s green light to migrants could “only make the situation worse.”