Turkey on Thursday criticized Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ comments on the “unmanageable” situation on island migrant camps, saying they are “baseless and unfortunate.”
“Compared to the migratory crisis of 2015 when 850 thousand irregular migrants reached Europe, the current level of crossings have reduced by 94 percent, thanks to measures taken by Turkey,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a press release Thursday.
“It is not humane for countries located on the migration routes as well as Greece to implement ‘zero migrant policy’ and disregard the rights of these people. Greece and countries suffering from migration need to focus primarily on addressing the root causes triggering migration in source countries,” he added.
Aksoy reiterated that Turkey is hosting more than 4 million refugees.
“Our Greek counterparts as well as international community should understand that it is not fair for Turkey to solely shoulder the burden of migration, which is a global problem,” he said.
Speaking at an event on youth participation in European politics in Zagreb on Wednesday, Mitsotakis warned that “Greece has reached its limits” in terms of the number of refugees and migrants it can accommodate, adding that the European Union needs a common system on asylum that will replace Dublin.
He said that Greece receives an average of 500 asylum seekers a day and that the situation on the islands is now “unmanageable,” while the transfer of refugees to the mainland is causing reactions by the local population.
“We do not see how this trend will stop in the near future,” he explained, stressing that migration is an issue that concerns the entire EU.