Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs Suleyman Soylu announced the deployment of special police forces across the Greek border in Evros. “To prevent violent returns, we brought in 1,000 fully-equipped police officers with their inflatables and they will not allow to anyone to behave inhumanly”, he said during a visit to Edirne.
The special forces of the Turkish police are considered more powerful than the coastguard and have fought many battles with the PKK men inside Turkish cities such as Diyarbakir.
Soylu explained to refugees and immigrants that they could cross over from the entire land border and not just from Pazarkule, where the campsite has been set up.
“There is an obstacle in Pazarkule and they (the Greeks) are obliged to accept them, but they have placed their forces there and are blocking them; but there is a 200km border line and I saw the helicopter crossing the border with ease. There is no need for people to cross the border just from Pazarkule”, he said flying with a helicopter over the areas near Kastanes.
Soylu made it clear that the EU-Turkey “joint statement” applied only to refoulement from the Aegean islands, underlining that Ankara would not accept refoulement from land borders.
“We are blocking at one point the arrivals to the Aegean islands under President Erdogan’s command, and we are doing everything we can with our security forces and our Coastguard to prevent any humanitarian casualties”, he said. The March 18 agreement (with the EU) does not provide for the land borders; I repeat, it only covers the Greek border area, and that is why they can cross from there”, Soylu said.
Turkey’s Internal Minister argued that the number of refugees and immigrants who seek to cross over to Europe amounts to one million, and Europe cannot direct it or manage it. This can cause government shifts across Europe.
Turkish Main Opposition: ‘800 Refugees attempted to cross over, and most of them returned’
Nonetheless, Edirne MP Okan Gaytancioglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) argued that “only 800 refugees crossed the border and most of them were refouled”. The prefecture of Adrianople denied his statements and accused him of promoting the Greek positions. /ibna