Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the Turkish Coastguard to stop allowing immigrants to attempt to cross the Aegean Sea in order to reach EU shores, it was made public on Friday.
The Turkish Coast Guard posted on Twitter that ”Due to the instructions of our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the follow-up of our Minister of Internal Affairs, Süleyman Soylu, illegal immigrants are not allowed to cross the Aegean Sea due to the dangerous sea crossings.”
Sayın Cumhurbaşkanımız Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’ın talimatı ve Sayın İçişleri Bakanımız Süleyman Soylu’nun takibiyle, kaçak göçmenlerin deniz geçişlerinin tehlikeli olması nedeniyle Ege Denizi’nden geçişlerine izin verilmiyor.
— T.C. Sahil Güvenlik Komutanlığı (@sahilguvkom) March 6, 2020
The Coastguard also said that its units ”are doing much more than usual to prevent crossings from the sea.”
The Turkish officials accused the Greek coast guard of ”pushing back the migrants to the Turkish Sea waters”, something that leaves them ”in a desperate position in the middle of the sea.”
Tensions Continue in Evros
Meanwhile, tensions continue in Evros, between the Greek and the Turkish side of the border.
Attacks with tear gas toward Greek forces at the Kastanies border crossing and around it have been taking place since the early hours of Saturday.
Greek Premier: EU-Turkey Deal Is Dead
Speaking with the American television CNN network on Friday, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Europe is not going to be blackmailed by Turkey.
”We are not the ones escalating this conflict, but we have every right to protect our sovereign borders,” the Greek leader said.
PM Mitsotakis noted emphatically that the Turkey-EU agreement is ”dead,” with Turkey being responsible for this.
”It is dead because Turkey has decided to completely breach the agreement because of what happened in Syria,” the Greek Premier stated.