"Turkey allowed, in violation of its obligations, according to the 2016 joint statement, a boat with thirteen people to start from Turkish territorial waters. It did not rescue the passengers in the Turkish territorial waters and the Greek Coast Guard, which puts the protection of human life first, was forced to enter Turkish territorial waters in order to rescue ten people and, unfortunately, according to the information, three more people are still missing in Turkish territorial waters. Until I came to the Parliament, I was not informed that Turkey has responded to this incident," Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi said on Friday in parliament.
Responding to a question submitted by KKE MP Maria Komninaka, and on the occasion of the rescue operation that took place on the border of the sea area north of Lesvos, the minister denounced the "Turkish propaganda for the protection of the European maritime borders" saying that the Coast Guard, the Greek Coast Guard, with absolute respect for the rules of international law make an incredible effort to protect human lives.
He stressed that the Turkey-EU Agreement remains active and provides, firstly, for Turkey to ban illegal departures from Turkish territorial waters and, secondly, to accept the return of those deemed to be illegal economic migrants, who are not entitled to international protection. He pointed out that "Turkey, in the view of the European Union and Greece, is a safe country for hosting refugees and migrants."
Mitarachi stressed that the reduction of migration flows remains a primary choice and stressed: "We will not let our islands experience what they have experienced since 2015."