Turkey slams Greek prime minister over comments on irregular migrants

Turkey’s deputy interior minister accused Greece of making baseless and false statements on Ankara’s handling of irregular migrants in response to the Greek prime minister’s comments on the increasing number of arrivals from Turkey to the Greek islands, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.

According to Greek authorities, there has been a 240-percent increase in migrant arrivals in Greece since May, but Turkey says the number of crossings has dropped by 94 percent since 2015.

"Greece should cooperate [with Turkey] in line with neighbouring laws and fulfil its responsibilities instead of … making baseless and untrue statements with false and insufficient information regarding irregular migration,” İsmail Çataklı said at a conference on migration in Vienna. 

He said Turkey worked extensively to help refugees and had shouldered the burden by itself, without sufficient support from the international community.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that Greece was reaching the limit of its ability to manage the migration flow and called for a common European Union system for asylum. 

Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, has repeatedly threatened to open its borders and let migrants flood into Europe if the bloc failed to keep its promises to contribute to the financial burden of migrant management.