Greece jailed four Turkish nationals for migrant trafficking
Greek authorities remanded four Turkish nationals for illegally trafficking 63 immigrants.
The prosecutors of southern Kalamata city have sent four Turks to prison for illegally smuggling the immigrants to Greece at the risk of their lives, while releasing two others with restrictive conditions, the Greek City Times reported on Thursday.
Migration is one of the contentious issues between the two neighboring countries.
Athens blames Ankara of deliberately encouraging migrants to cross the border, despite being obliged to stop them entering Greece, under a 2016 deal signed with the European Union. Meanwhile, Ankara accuses Greece for migrant pushbacks in the Aegean Sea.
A commercial ship rescued the immigrants (61 Iranians and two Afghans) on a vessel which was set off from Turkey’s western city of Izmir, bound for Italy, the news website said.
Four jailed Turkish nationals were aged 37, 39, 48 and 51 respectively, while the remaining two who were released with a ban on leaving the country were aged 30 and 32, it said.
Around 25,000 irregular immigrants tried to enter illegally from the Greek-Turkish border during August alone, the Schengen Visa information website reported last month, citing Takis Theodorikakos, the Minister of Protection of Greek Citizens as saying.
“It is now clear that the Turkish side is proceeding with the systematic, methodical and complex instrumentalization of these unfortunate people who have left their countries,” Theodorikakos said.