Without offering any proof, Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said tha 148,763 migrants crossed the northwestern land border into Greece after they were sent there in violation of a 2016 swap deal with the European Union.
Greece closed the border late in February when Turkey sent some 10,000 migrants there and urged them to try to get across before they were stopped and repelled by riot police and Greek army units, with Greece saying none were able to enter.
Akar spoke in a TV interview where he made the assertions, said Turkey’s Anadolu news agency as Turkish officials have kept up unverified claims without mentioning sending migrants to the border broke the deal with the EU.
Turkish President Recey Tayyip Erdogan said that was in response to European officials not keeping their end of the deal and holding back some 3 billion euros ($3.26 billion) from a 6-billion euro ($6.52 billion) pledge on condition Turkey keep some 5.5 million refugees and migrants who went there fleeing war and strife in their countries.
He sent them to the Greek border after the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in an area of northern Syria they had invaded made him anxious that more Syrians would come te Turkey to escape their civil war.