Turkey hints at more migrant border tension with Greece

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday once again raised tensions with Greece, insisting that his country’s “open border” policy for anyone wishing to cross into Europe will continue, ekathimerini reported. In comments to Turkey’s Akit TV, he denounced what he described as Greece’s “inhumane” behaviour toward migrants seeking to cross into the country.

His remarks reinforced concerns in Greece, which has been strengthening its defences at the Evros land border region in anticipation of a possible migrant surge from Turkey similar to the one in February. Separately, the National Council on Foreign Policy under Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Wednesday discussed among other things Turkey’s aggressive behaviour.

Meanwhile, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis announced that a total of 16,000 asylum applications were processed in Greece in April, four times the usual monthly average. He added that 11,000 applications have been rejected over the past two months, paving the way for returns to Turkey. “They must return,” Mitarakis said in comments to Skai Radio. “This is a major issue that Greece first raised with the EU in 2011,” he said.

A new law allows authorities to detain any individual believed to pose risk, Mitarakis said. The returns will most likely resume once restrictions for containing the spread of the coronavirus have been lifted, he said.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

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