Migrants cause Ankara friction

Greece is not receiving the cooperation it has sought from Turkey to curb illegal immigration, the government said yesterday as six drowned migrants were found off Turkey’s western coast. «Greece has sought the cooperation of the Turkish authorities for repatriating illegal immigrants and their response has been far from satisfactory,» Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said from Washington. Koumoutsakos was responding to questions about Turkish press reports criticizing Greece’s approach to curbing illegal immigration. Over the past four years Athens has submitted appeals to Ankara to repatriate 22,000 immigrants entering Greece from Turkey but only 1,400 were accepted, Koumoutsakos said. «Greece expects Turkey’s cooperation,» he said, urging Ankara to implement a repatriation pact. Meanwhile, six illegal immigrants were found drowned off Turkey, with reports of two more missing and 31 survivors. Initial reports said the migrants had been heading towards Chios when their ship sank. But Turkish officials quoted survivors as saying that a Greek ship had taken them back to Turkey from Chios. Greece’s troubles with Turkey were the focus of a speech at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies yesterday by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. «Unfortunately major issues remain unresolved,» Bakoyannis said. She is due to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today.