Migrants rescued by Turkey, Ankara accuses Athens

(ANSAmed) – ISTANBUL, FEB 17 – The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 52 migrants who had tried to illegally reach the Greek islands near Turkey’s Aegean coast, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.

He said rescues had taken place at various locations near the coast in the province of Smyrna.

In a statement, the Turkish Coast Guard said the migrants were pushed back by Greek authorities.

Ankara regularly accuses Athens of turning back migrants trying to reach Greece illegally by sea or land from Turkey.

Two weeks ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greek security forces of pushing back 19 migrants found dead of hypothermia in the Thrace region on the Turkish-Greek border.

Turkey hosts the most migrants in the world with around five million refugees in the country, according to President Erdogan.

Officially, 3.7 million Syrians live on Turkish territory, especially in Istanbul.

Under a 2016 deal, Ankara receives funds from the European Union in exchange for a pledge to keep its borders closed to those illegally trying to reach Europe.

While Brussels decided last year to allocate an additional three billion euros for the reception of migrants in Turkey, Ankara is urgently asking the EU for more funds. (ANS Amed).

Sharon P. Juarez