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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Turkey opens gates into Europe as migrants gather on border

    Turkey opens gates into Europe as migrants gather on border

    February 29, 2020



    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country’s borders with Europe were open on Saturday, making good on a longstanding threat to let refugees into the continent as thousands of migrants gathered at the frontier with Greece.

    Erdogan’s announcement that Turkey is allowing refugees and migrants to exit the country marked a dramatic departure from current policy and an apparent attempt to pressure Europe.

    It came amid a military escalation in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians are trapped between advancing Syrian government forces backed by Russia and rebel fighters supported by Turkey.

    The mass displacement in Idlib has raised the possibility that Turkey might come under growing international pressure to open its now sealed border with Syria and offer refuge to masses of desperate Syrian civilians.
    “We can’t handle a new wave of migration,” Erdogan said in a speech Saturday, in an apparent reference to the growing humanitarian crisis in Idlib. Nearly 950,000 displaced civilians have been pushed toward the Syrian-Turkish border amid cold winter weather.

    Erdogan also said Turkey would not stand in the way of refugees and migrants already in the country who hope to head to Europe.

    “We will not close the gates to refugees,” Erdogan he said. “The European Union has to keep its promises. We are not obliged to look after and feed so many refugees. If you’re honest, if you’re sincere, then you need to share.”

    Under a 2016 deal, Turkey agreed to stem the tide of refugees to Europe in return for financial aid after more than a million people entered Europe in 2015. It has since protested that the EU has failed to honor the agreement. Erdogan has frequently threatened to “open the gates” and allow refugees and migrants to head to Europe unless more international support was provided.

    Since seizing territory from Kurdish forces in a different part of Syria in October, Erdogan has also suggested resettling at least a million Syrian refugees from Turkey in that northeastern region. However, his efforts to secure funding for such a scheme have been rejected by European governments. Aid groups have also said it is still too dangerous to send refugees back to Syria.

    Turkey currently hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, and many fleeing war and poverty in Asia, Africa and the Middle East use it as a staging post and transit point to reach Europe, usually through neighboring Greece.

    Migrants played a cat-and-mouse game with Greek border patrols throughout Friday night and into Saturday, with Greek authorities firing tear gas to repulse attempts by the crowd to push through the border. Greek authorities also said tear gas was fired toward the Greek border from the Turkish side during the unrest.
    Some of the migrants cut holes in the fence, with a few managing to get through. The vast majority were from Afghanistan and most were men, although there were also some families with young children. They took shelter during the night in abandoned buildings or small chapels in the Greek countryside before starting to walk towards northern cities.

    Others were crossing from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands in inflatable dinghies. But sea crossings have been occurring daily for years, and there was no indication Saturday of any increase in usual numbers. The coast guard said a total of 180 people had arrived on Greek islands from Turkey between Friday morning and Saturday morning.

    Greece announced it was sending police and army reinforcements to its land border with Turkey and reinforcing controls along the sea border, where 52 coast guard and navy vessels were patrolling.
    Erdogan’s speech Saturday in Istanbul was the first clear announcement that migrants would be allowed to try to cross the border, after a foreign ministry spokesman floated the idea Thursday.

    It comes as tensions ratcheted up between Turkey and Syria. More than 55 Turkish troops have been killed since Turkey began sending further reinforcements into rebel-held areas of Syria earlier this month. Thousands of Turkish soldiers are new deployed inside Syria’s Idlib province, which is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants.

    Turkey’s Defense Ministry said late Friday that one of its soldiers was killed and two were injured by Syrian government shelling. It was the latest fatality after a deadly airstrike that killed 33 earlier this week.
    NATO envoys held emergency talks Friday at the request of Turkey, a NATO member. While urging deescalation in Idlib, NATO offered no further assistance.

    Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone Friday and discussed implementing agreements in Idlib, the Kremlin said.

    Erdogan also spoke with other world leaders, including President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Back on the border with Greece, authorities repulsed efforts by more than 4,000 people to enter from Turkey, according to Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas. He said 66 people who managed to cross were arrested, and “they had nothing to do with Syria’s Idlib.”

    Ali Nikad, a 17-year-old Iranian who made it into Greece overnight with a group of friends, said he’d spent two months in Turkey but couldn’t make ends meet, and was hoping to find his uncle who was already in Greece.

    “We learned the border was open and we headed there. But we saw it was closed, and we found a hole in the fence and went through it,” Nikad said.
    Kantouris reported from Kastanies, Greece. Elena Becatoros in Athens contributed to this report.
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 02-29-2020 at 11:11 AM.
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    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    PARADISE (San Diego)
    FEBRUARY 29, 2020 / 2:26 AM / UPDATED 2 HOURS AGO

    Greece pushes back migrants on Turkish border 'onslaught'

    Lefteris Papadimas

    KASTANIES, Greece (Reuters) - Greek police fired teargas to push back hundreds of migrants gathered on its border with Turkey on Saturday, as a crisis over Syria shifted onto the European Union’s doorstep.

    Migrants are seen during clashes with Greek police, at the Turkey's Pazarkule border crossing with Greece's Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey, February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

    Greece, which has tense relations with its neighbor Turkey at the best of times and was a primary gateway for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, described the situation an “onslaught” and said it would keep migrants out.

    “Greece yesterday faced an organized, mass and illegal attempt to violate its borders and it withstood this attempt,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.

    “The government will do whatever it takes to protect its borders,” adding that police at the borders would be reinforced.

    Ankara said on Thursday it will no longer contain hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers after an air strike on war-ravaged Idlib in Syria killed 33 Turkish soldiers.

    Almost immediately, convoys of people appeared heading towards the Greek land and sea borders.

    “This has nothing to do with Idlib,” Petsas said, adding that in the past 24 hours Greek authorities had prevented attempts by 4,000 people to cross the border.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that some 18,000 migrants had crossed borders from Turkey into Europe. Speaking in Istanbul, he did not immediately provide evidence for the number, but said it would rise.

    Bulgaria, which also shares a border with Turkey, said it had seen no migrant inflows.

    “There is nothing different on our border from what we have seen a year, or two or three years ago,” Prime Minister Poyko Borissov told reporters.


    A Reuters witness said there were about 500 people in the buffer zone between the Greek and Turkish border posts, and beyond that on the Turkish side, at the Pazarkule border gate, hundreds more.

    Overnight, demonstrators hurled flaming pieces of wood at police, amateur footage filmed by a policeman on the scene, which was seen by Reuters, showed. Police fired teargas to keep people back.

    An estimated 3,000 people had gathered on the Turkish side of the border at Kastanies, a Greek government official said. Kastanies is just over 900 km (550 miles) north-east of Athens.

    “We are making a titanic effort to keep our borders closed to such migration flows,” Panagiotis Harelas, head of border guards in the area, told reporters, showing empty gas cannisters which were hurled from the Turkish side. They had Turkish writing on them.

    Nearly a million refugees and migrants crossed from Turkey to Greece’s islands in 2015, setting off a crisis over immigration in Europe, but that route all but closed after the European Union and Ankara agreed to stop the flow in March 2016.


    Greece shares a long river border with Turkey, and is a known permeable route for asylum seekers.

    Reuters video showed tens of people at a time climbing, and some throwing their bags over a 3-metre (10-foot) fence covered all over with barbed wire along the Greek border in Turkey’s western Edirne province.

    A group of Afghans with young children waded across fast-moving waters of the Evros river and took refuge in a small chapel. They crossed into Greece on Friday morning.

    “Today is good” said Shir Agha, 30 in broken English. “Before, Erdogan people, police problem,” he said. Their shoes were caked in mud. It had rained heavily the night before, and by early morning, temperatures were close to freezing.

    Greece had already said on Thursday it would tighten border controls to prevent coronavirus reaching its Aegean islands, where thousands of migrants are living in poor conditions.

    Slideshow (9 Images)

    A Syrian man, who did not give his name, said they had been in the border area for two days and were in need of food.

    “We’ve been here for two days, We have no food, look at these kids,” he said.
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 02-29-2020 at 01:09 PM.

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  3. #3
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    Turkey opens borders with Europe as tensions rise with Syria and Russia

    “We will not close the gates to refugees,” President Erdogan said in televised address.

    Refugees and migrants take an inflatable boat as they attempt to enter Greece from Turkey by crossing the Evros river on Saturday. Osman Orsal / Getty Images

    Feb. 29, 2020, 11:16 AM EST

    By Isobel van Hagen

    The Syrian refugee crisis moved closer to European Union's doorstep Saturday after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would open his borders.

    In a televised address less than 48-hours after at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan said: “We will not close these doors in the coming period and this will continue," according to the Reuters press agency.

    "Why?" he added. "The European Union needs to keep its promises. We don’t have to take care of this many refugees, to feed them."

    Almost immediately, convoys of people began heading to the Greek land and sea borders.
    Live images from Greece's Skai TV on the Turkish side of the northern land border at Kastanies showed Greek riot police firing teargas rounds at groups of migrants who were hurling stones and shouting obscenities.

    The Greek government reiterated its promise to keep migrants out and the country's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted: "I want to be clear: no illegal entries into Greece will be tolerated. We are increasing our border security."

    In a second tweet he added: “Greece does not bear any responsibility for the tragic events in Syria and will not suffer the consequences of decisions taken by others."

    I want to be clear: no illegal entries into Greece will be tolerated. We are increasing our border security.

    Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas later told reporters that authorities had thwarted 4,000 people attempting to cross its borders.

    In return for E.U. funds, Turkey agreed to step up efforts to halt the flow of hundreds of thousands refugees passing through the country and into Europe, mainly via Greece and Bulgaria.

    Turkey has since argued that the E.U. has not held up its end of the bargain in terms of aid assistance.



  5. #5
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    Turn them all right back around.

    Let their President FEED THEM all.

    Chain deportation...needs to happen worldwide.

    Stop dumping YOUR problems on our countries.


  6. #6
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016



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