Turkey says Greek forces kill migrant

Turkey says Greek forces kill migrant

Turkey says Greek forces kill migrant

AA Photo

Turkish officials said Greek forces had killed a migrant and wounded five others on March 4 as they tried to cross the border between the two countries.

Turkey, alarmed by the prospect of another wave of refugees fleeing war in northwest Syria, said last week it will no longer uphold a 2016 deal with the European Union to keep hundreds of thousands of migrants on its soil in return for EU aid.

“Greek police and border units opened fire on the migrants in the  region between the Kastanies Border Gate and the Pazarkule Border Gate using sound, fog, and gas bombs, and rubber and metal bullets," said the governor's office, of Turkey's bordering Edirne province, in a statement.

Six men were injured by metal bullets, including three in the feet, one in the groin area, one in the chest, and one in the head, the statement added.

The one injured in the chest area was taken to the Trakya University Medical School Hospital by ambulance, where he died while doctors tried to save him, it added.

Greek forces firing metal bullets indiscriminately “disregarded the migrants' right to life,” the statement said.

Greek riot police and troops used water cannon and tear gas on March 4 against hundreds of migrants as they made another attempt to cross the border from Turkey into Greece, Reuters reported.

Plumes of black smoke drifted above the Kastanies border crossing, and a fire engine raced by to put out smouldering blazes. Greek soldiers also fired warning shots into the air.   

Video footage showed some migrants carrying an injured man away from the border. It was unclear how he had been hurt.     

A Greek army vehicle equipped with loudspeakers informed the migrants in Arabic and other languages that the border is shut.   

More than 10,000 migrants have been trying to breach the border since Turkey said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal with the European Union to halt illegal migration flows to Europe in return for billions of euros in aid.   

Greece and the EU accuse Turkey of goading on the migrants in an effort to "blackmail" Brussels into offering more money or supporting Ankara's geopolitical aims in the Syrian conflict.   

Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees and faces another influx from an upsurge in fighting in northwest Syria, says the EU is not providing anything like enough help to deal with the scale of the migrant crisis.   

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also accused Greek forces of killing two migrants, a claim Athens denies.   

A number of dinghies have arrived on the Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast in the past week, though choppy seas discouraged sailings for a second consecutive day on March 4.   

A navy ship docked at Lesbos port will take in 508 migrants who have arrived since March 2 once they have been identified, a coastguard official said. He did not say where the ship would take them.   

Hussein, in a group of about 100 migrants which arrived in Lesbos four days ago and has been camping on the shore, told Reuters that he left Afghanistan with his 17-year-old brother a month ago and crossed Iran and Turkey before reaching the island by dinghy.   

"Our future is going to be bright because I am an educated person so I don't need much help. I want to complete my education and then I will need a job," he told Reuters.   

EU leaders on March 3 pledged 700 million euros in aid for Greece and urged Turkey to hold up its end of the 2016 accord.   

They fear a repeat of the 2015-16 migrant crisis, when more than a million migrants came to western Europe via Turkey and the Balkans, straining European security and welfare services and boosting support for far-right parties.   

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, known for his tough anti-immigrant stance, said on March 4 130,000 migrants had already passed the Greek border from Turkey and that they must be stopped as far south as possible.