ANKARA: Turkish government has criticised Greece over its “inhumane practices” against irregular migrants as Athens has been ruthlessly trying to push back migrants, including women and children, in the Aegean Sea.
Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense spokeswoman Maj. Pinar Kara told reporters in the capital on Thursday that Greece committed 229 violations against the islands of non-military status with military vessels and aircraft so far in 2022.
Kara’s remarks come after a total of 19 migrants were found frozen to death near the two countries’ mutual border earlier this month, stripped of their belongings, including clothes and shoes, before being pushed back to Turkey by Greek border officials.
Greece, calling the incident a “tragedy,” denied involvement, with Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi saying on Twitter that any suggestion that Greek forces had pushed the victims back would be “patently false.”
Turkish officials have severely criticised Athens over its treatment of migrants, accusing it of disregarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When asked about the schedule of the “F-35 talks” continuing with the US, Kara said, “The first meeting was held in Ankara on October 27. We expect an invitation from the US for the second meeting this month,”.
Kara added that the work on the supply and modernisation of the F-16 continues, and that the second High-Level Defense Group Meeting between the Turkish and the US Defense Ministries was in the planning stage.
Turkish forces have “neutralised” a total of 316 terrorists since the beginning of the year in 18 domestic and cross-border operations.
Turkey conducted five large and 13 medium-scale anti-terrorism operations since January 1, Kara said.
Kara added at the press conference that the country’s security forces had neutralised 33,584 terrorists in Turkey, Iraq, and northern Syria since July 24, 2015. In 2022, a total of 94 people were caught and 2,831 others were prevented from illegally crossing Turkey’s border from Iran, she said, adding that 296 people were caught trying to illegally cross Turkey’s borders in January alone.