Ankara dismisses Greek minister’s EU deal allegations

Ankara dismisses Greek minister’s EU deal allegations

ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Ankara dismisses Greek minister’s EU deal allegations

Turkey on April 13 rejected Greece’s migration minister’s remarks that claimed Ankara violated the March 18 agreement with the EU using the coronavirus epidemic as an excuse.

In a statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Notis Mitarachi’s made these claims to “distort he facts” and “with the motive to suppress the crimes committed by this country against asylum seekers.”

“Turkey had fulfilled its obligations under the March 18 agreement. Thus, illegal crossings to Europe decreased by 92%. In this context, the European Union does not fulfill its obligations,” the statement added.

Within the framework of the agreement, Turkey accepts only the return of the refugees who have reached the Greek islands, those whose application for international protection is rejected or who do not need international protection, it added.

“To date, 2,139 irregular migrants have been withdrawn from Greece in accordance with these conditions,” the statement noted.

It noted that Greece has suspended asylum applications for one month in defiance of EU founding agreements and international obligations.

Greece also has tried to send asylum-seekers to Turkey, without registering asylum seekers and evaluating asylum applications in defiance of the agreement, the statement added.

Aksoy said international organizations have clearly demonstrated with their criticisms that Greece's new asylum law does not comply with international standards and EU directives.  

“On the other hand, measures are taken to protect public health and safety due to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. As a matter of fact, the European Union temporarily suspended the resettlement program, which is an important element of the March 18 Consensus, to protect public health,” he said.

For the same reason, Turkey also temporarily stopped the readmission process for refugees and reported this to the Greek authorities, the spokesman added.

Aksoy also underlined that the refugee camps in Greece were in squalid conditions and the necessity to take Turkey as an example has been voiced by a Greek journalist who visited refugee camps in Turkey.