Athens accuses Turkey as Ankara claims seven more migrants dead at border

Athens accuses Turkey as Ankara claims seven more migrants dead at border

Amid Greek government accusations that Turkey fails to prevent migrants from approaching its border area and undertaking crossings, Turkish authorities on Thursday announced that they found seven more dead bodies near the border, raising to 19 the number of migrants who have frozen to death at the frontier.

Athens has strongly rejected Turkish allegations that it is to blame for the deaths of the migrants.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to expose what he said was Greece’s illegal pushback of migrants at every occasion.

Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou described Erdogan’s comments as “completely unfounded and false.”

“Turkey has enormous responsibilities for the instrumentalization of refugees. Our country has proven by rescuing people in the Evros [region] and the Aegean that it respects the rule of law, that it respects humanity and pursues a strict but fair immigration policy.”

On Wednesday, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis dismissed as “false propaganda” a Turkish government minister’s claim that 12 migrants who froze to death near the Turkish-Greek border had been sent back across the frontier without shoes by Greek guards.

He also accused Turkey of failing to prevent migrants from approaching the border area and undertaking “these dangerous journeys.” [Kathimerini]

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