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Politics

Greek, Turkish Ministers Pledge Refugee Amity Despite Rancor

Even while Turkey is allowing human traffickers to keep sending refugees and migrants to Greece, the ministers responsible for that in both countries said they would cooperate to meet terms of an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union.

Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis met in Ankara with Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, especially about worries that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would leave to new waves of refugees and migrants using Turkey as a springboard to get to the EU through Greece – or seek asylum in Greece.

In a statement, Mitarakis said that the new realities in Afghanistan “make regional cooperation even more necessary” and the two ministers had a “common understanding of the dangers of the migration crisis,” said Kathimerini.

He didn’t mention the bitter disputes between the two countries over the issue nor Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly threatening to unleash more refugees and migrants unless the EU sends him another 3 billion euros ($3.47 billion) as well as visa-free travel in the bloc and faster-track entry to become a member.

“We agreed on the need for further cooperation in the framework of the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration, following the conversation between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Erdogan,” Mitarakis said, although there hasn’t been mutuality.

“Greece will continue to responsibly face its obligations to protect the borders of the European Union, with absolute respect for international law. We will support Turkey’s efforts within the (agreement with the EU) so that it can deal with the (migration flow) pressure that may arise from Afghanistan. It is up to Turkey to reciprocate the good will in cooperating with our country,” he said.

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