ANKARA – Unpunished by the European Union for violating an agreement by letting human traffickers keep sending more refugees and migrants to Greece, Turkey is blaming both the EU and Greece for allegedly pushing them back.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu noted the European Parliament’s (EP) decision to reject a funding program for the EU border control Frontex and said Greece is trying to keep out the asylum seekers, said Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.
“We were also asked for additional information and documents on this subject. The EP launched an investigation. The EP did not approve Fronex’s 2022 budget … some of this budget was used to push migrants back,” Çavuşoğlu said.
“Frontex participated in inhumane practices. Failure to approve the budget does not acquit Frontex. Deaths occurred after these pushbacks,” the minister added, citing incidents of refugees drowning while trying to cross from Turkey to five Greek islands in the Aegean.
“Greece is also responsible for the deaths. Since the incidents occurred in front of their eyes, Frontex, and therefore, the EU is also responsible. Those responsible must be held accountable,” he stated.
Çavuşoğlu was speaking about the resignation of Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri, who is being investigated by the EU’s anti-fraud agency and denied any complicity in alleged pushbacks.
Under the 2016 swap deal with the EU, Turkey is supposed to contain some 4.4 million refugees and migrants who went there fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands, primarily Afghanistan and Syria.