Greece’s President, PM rebuke Turkey over migrant shipwrecks
Greece’s President and Prime Minister on Friday criticized Turkey’s failure to prevent ships packed with migrants from sailing from its coast, often in perilous conditions, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.
On Friday, stormy weather in the Aegean Sea capsized two immigrant boats off Greece’s Lesbos island leaving 23 dead and at least 10 still missing.
“The Mediterranean should be a sea of peace and prosperity and not a field to [weaponize] the human pain from Turkey,” President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said, while visiting the Maltese capital Valletta.
Sakellaropoulou said the two deadly shipwrecks underlined the need for common European action in order to tackle the human trafficking rings and prevent, as much as possible, similar tragic incidents in the future.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the root of the problem was Turkey’s inability to stop the boats before leaving the Turkish coastline.
“And there is no doubt that Turkey, if it wants to, can do more to tackle this problem,” Mitsotakis said.
However, Turkey accuses the Greek Coast guard of pushing back the immigrants.
"We are seeing how they [Greek coast guards] bury those poor people in the seas in Aegean, Mediterranean from the Greek ferries. Does the world voice about that? No. Our frigates are reaching them and saving them from the sea. Because we are Muslims and we are fulfilling the requirements of our religion," Turkish President Erdogan said on Wednesday.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing Syria and Afghanistan.