Turkey: Migrants will return to border after coronavirus outbreak ends
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has announced that after the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak ends, his government will not stop migrants from travelling to the Greek border. Breitbart reports in its article Turkey: Migrants Will Return to Border After Coronavirus Outbreak Ends that Interior Minister Soyilu said that the government had evacuated an estimated 5,800 migrants from the border area and transported them to nine different Turkish provinces where they will be held in deportation centres until the outbreak ends.
“It was a precautionary move. We had to do it. But no one has yet to feel comfortable with it,” Soyilu said. According to a report from the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, Soyilu added: “When the coronavirus pandemic is over, we are not going to deter any immigrants who want to return to the Greek-Turkish border in Pazar.”
George Koumoutsakos, the deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, criticised the Turkish minister, saying: “Yesterday’s statements by Soyilu respond to those who still had the slightest doubt that the events in Evros were an aggressive plan to brutally blackmail Greece and Europe with a ‘weapon’ of migrant exploitation.”
The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the borders to migrants in late February, with the Greek government accusing the Turks of using busses and trains to ship migrants to the land border area along the Evros river.
The Greeks have also accused Erdogan’s government of arming migrants with canisters of tear gas to use on Greek border forces and supporting migrants attempting to storm the border.
In an interview with a Swedish newspaper, one Turkish soldier admitted that he had received orders to help migrants get across the border into the European Union saying: “We have checked that everything has gone well and that the smugglers do not charge too much. We also have intelligence about where and when it is safe to get over.”
Last week, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) claimed to have evidence that Turkish soldiers were placed among the migrants and fueled riots along the border, as well.