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Home Lao Chinese

Turkey says over 80,000 illegal migrants cross into Europe

ISTANBUL (Xinhua) -- Over 80,000 illegal migrants have so far crossed into Europe from Turkey’s northwestern borders, Fahrettin Altun, communication director of the Turkish presidency, said in a statement on Sunday.
“This number may increase in the coming days,” Altun added, noting that “humanitarian suffering, unprecedented displacement and migration challenge in Syria” is not only Turkey’s problem, but that of the region, Europe, and the entire world.

Illegal migrants cross the Meric river by boat to enter Greece in Edirne Province, Turkey, on March 1, 2020. Over 80,000 illegal migrants have so far crossed into Europe from Turkey’s northwestern borders, Fahrettin Altun, communication director of the Turkish presidency, said in a statement on Sunday.

Altun also noted that Turkey is open to “serious and robust” cooperation, and it will do its part, but other countries must do their part as well on the issue.
Meanwhile, thousands of refugees, including Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, and Pakistanis, seeking better living conditions, have been forcing Turkey’s northwestern province of Edirne to cross into Europe.
After Turkey announced on Thursday that it would no longer stop the migrants from going to Europe, refugees have gathered near the Pazarkule border gate.
Refugees have mostly started to cross the border to the Greek side via the Evros River in either fishing boats or inflatable boats over the last two days, according to local journalists.
“Turkish villagers, those with fishing boats, have been carrying refugees to the other side of the river,” Yasin Akgul, a photojournalist, told Xinhua.
The price of this journey for one person varies between 35 and 70 US dollars, Akgul said, noting that no fee is required for children. Many refugees are spending days and nights along the river to bargain with the fishermen for a more affordable price, Akgul said.
“The villagers here told us that those who could manage to cross the river to the other side have to walk approximately 1.5 km in the buffer zone, trying not to be caught,” he added.
Those who were captured by Greek security forces were pushed back to Turkey, Akgul continued, saying that Greek soldiers were often seen covering the different parts of the river shore with barbed wires.
Turkey decided to open its border gates for illegal migrants after at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, the last rebel-held stronghold.
Around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, fleeing from the bombardments of Syrian forces in Idlib, have also flooded Turkey’s border with Syria.
Currently, Turkish authorities do not allow these refugees to cross the border into Turkey, keeping them on the Syrian side.
Hosting over 3.7 million Syrian refugees in its territory, the Turkish government earlier announced that it could no longer cope with a new flow of refugees alone.


(Latest Update March 3, 2020


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