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Turkey Deploys 1,000 Well-Armed Police to Halt Migrants' Return

  • People gather to demand for opening of European borders in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2020.

    People gather to demand for opening of European borders in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 March 2020

The Turkish Interior Minister Soylu says the measure is aimed at safeguarding his country's borders.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu Thursday announced that his country will send a thousand special forces police to the border with Greece to prevent migrants from trying to return to Turkish territory.

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"Greece has tried to return 4,900 people to Turkey... A thousand special force police officers are deployed from this morning to the Meric River on the border, fully equipped, to prevent people from being pushed back," Soylu said.

"We have taken the necessary measures to save our borders from pushback attempts, which are made in violation of international laws," he added.

Several refugees have told new agencies that Turkish police have not only encouraged them to cross the border into Greece but have prevented them from returning after they were received with tear gas on the Greek side.

On Thursday, Soylu flew by helicopter a region in which thousands of refugees have been trying to move towards Greece since Feb. 28, when Turkey opened its borders to the European Union (EU).

During a press conference in the Turkish border city of Edirne, the Interior Minister said that 139,070 refugees had left his country and crossed the land border to Greece.

For its part, this EU country informed that it prevented the entry of more than 24,000 people and arrested about 200 people who arrived in Greek territory.

Regarding the latter, the refugees who entered Greece across the Evros river denounced that the Greek police have returned them to Turkish territory after stripping their belongings and even taking their shoes off.

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