Turkey urges Greece to end ‘pushback’ of irregular migrants

Turkey on Sunday called on Greece to end to what it called the pushing back of irregular migrants over the Turkish border.

A total 25,404 irregular migrants were pushed back into Turkey by Greece in 2019, marking a significant spike from the 11,867 migrants pushed back in 2018, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

"Although Greece denies the fact that irregular migrants are pushed back into our country by Greek authorities, the pushback of irregular migrants carried out by Greek officials on our border continues both at sea and on land," independent news site T24 quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

"We are calling on the new government of Greece to rectify this policy instead of denying the cases of pushback, which has been documented and we possess proof of,’’ the ministry said.

Earlier this month, Greece vowed to curb overcrowding in its Aegean island refugee camps and send 10,000 migrants back to Turkey by the end of next year, after a deadly fire underscored the country’s growing crisis.

Greece has accused Turkey of playing a role in the new and steep rise in people crossing the Aegean to its islands following a three-year lull by failing to control the flow of migrants.