Greece criticizes Turkey for surge in migrant flows via land border

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-10 03:45:20|Editor: yan
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ATHENS, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Greek authorities have pointed the finger of blame for the surge of migrant flows through Evros river on the land border with Turkey this year to the neighboring country, Greek media reported on Tuesday.

Athens has lodged complaints with the European Commission and Ankara over the "relaxed stance" of Turkish authorities, local "Kathimerini" (Daily) newspaper reported citing Citizens' Protection Ministry sources.

Over 11,000 migrants have crossed into Greece through Evros so far in 2018, compared with 5,500 in 2017 and 3,000 in 2016, Migration Policy minister Dimitris Vitsas told local ANT1 TV.

About 1,200 smugglers were arrested from January to October this year in the region, according to police data.

After the numbers of arrivals via the Aegean sea dropped following the EU-Turkey agreement in March 2016 aimed to stem the migrant influx to Europe, pressure shifted to Evros region.

More than one million people reached Greece since 2015 and continued their journey to other European countries seeking refuge from warzones and extreme poverty until the closure of the borders to central Europe in the winter of 2016.

Although the numbers have plummeted, dozens still risk their lives every day to cross into Greece from Turkey.

About 60,000 people have been stranded in Greece, including 18,850 living on the northern Aegean Sea islands in difficult conditions in cramped reception centers, according to the latest official data from the Ministry of Citizens' Protection released this week.

Greek officials, such as Vitsas, have repeatedly acknowledged the problems, noting that despite the efforts made to improve conditions on the Greek islands, no country can cope with mass influxes.

In his interview on Tuesday the Greek official also said the government "welcomed" the Greek Supreme Court prosecutor's order of an inquiry into alleged mismanagement of EU funds for refugees.

Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou on Monday ordered the start of a preliminary investigation into reports in Greek and foreign media about the alleged mismanagement of funds given to Greece to cope with the refugee and migration crisis, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.