Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that over 143,000 migrants have so far managed to cross the border to Greece from Turkey’s northwestern border province Edirne.
Speaking at an event in Turkey’s eastern province of Elazig, Soylu said that the Evros River, separating the two countries, provides an easy journey for the refugees to the other side.
“Now the weather is getting warmer … The water level of the river fell to 40-45 centimeters in some places, which means that they can effortlessly pass to the other side on foot,” the minister noted.
Meanwhile, the intervention of Greek security forces against the refugees has continued on March 7 at the Pazarkule border crossing, an eyewitness told Xinhua.
“They frequently fired water cannon and tear gas throughout the day to push them back to Turkey,” the eyewitness said over the phone.
“To back the migrants, Turkish police also retaliated Greek security forces by firing tear gas,” he added.
The efforts of the migrants to go to Europe have also continued on the sea.
The Turkish coast guard rescued at least 177 illegal immigrants in different incidents off Turkey’s Aegean coast for the last two days, the force said in a statement on its website on March 7.
The incidents happened off the western provinces of Aydin, Mugla, and Izmir when Greek coast guard teams pushed the boats carrying migrants back to Turkey, the statement added.
Meanwhile, in a tweet posted on March 6, the coast guard announced that illegal immigrants would not be allowed to cross the Aegean Sea upon the order of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
After the announcement, the Turkish coast guard teams intercepted a total of 60 Afghan migrants off Izmir’s Dikili district the previous day from sneaking into Greece.
The Aegean Sea was once the main route for migrants trying to enter Europe via Turkey. A deal was signed between Ankara and the European Union in March 2016 to curb the flow of illegal immigration.
As part of the deal, Turkish authorities had stopped a total of 60,802 illegal immigrants from reaching Greece via Turkey last year, according to figures released by the Turkish coast guard.
On Feb. 28, Turkey said that it would no longer stop illegal immigrants from going to Europe, noting that it could not cope with the burden of over 3.7 million refugees in its territory.