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Turkey Claims 150,600 Refugees, Migrants Got into Greece

Αssociated press

A Turkish soldier walks near migrants as they gather at a border fence on the Turkish side during clashes with the Greek riot police at the Turkish-Greek border in Pazarkule, Edirne region, on Saturday, March 7, 2020.(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

ANKARA - Without offering any proof, Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 150,600 migrants and refugees that had been held under a 2016 swap deal with the European Union managed to get into Greece by land or sea since Feb. 28 when Turkey opened its borders.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent some 10,000 to the northern land border with Greece near the Evros River and urged them to cross after the deaths of 33 Turkish soldiers in an an area of northern Syria they had invaded made him fear more Syrians would flee their civil war and come to Turkey, holding 3.3 million of them and 2.2 million others.

For the last nearly five years, more than a million had come to, or tried to enter, the European Union largely through Greece but the New Democracy government shut the Greek border after Erdogan sent busloads full, violating the EU deal he said he wants revised.

Turkey has made a number of allegations, including that Greek forces killed migrants trying to cross but there's been no verification and now Soylu stepped up the provocations with his assertion that 150,600 got into Greece but there's no evidence beyond his statement, which was reported by Turkey's pro-government Daily Sabah.