Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Katakli has rejected claims that Greece has deported 231 migrants in seven cases.
Ankara has vehemently denied a claim that Greece tried to provoke Turkey by trying to push boats carrying migrants into Greek waters.
Greece and Turkey disagree on a number of issues, including Mediterranean energy supplies, and tensions within the NATO alliance escalated last year when thousands of asylum seekers in Turkey tried to attack the Greek land border.
Immigration Minister Notis Mitarachi said Greek coastguards had received reports of multiple incidents Friday with Turkish coastguards and navies on the European border in an “increasingly provocative attempt” with Greeks.
“There is no doubt that these migrants moved to the coast of Turkey and it was not risky to show the truth of their support by Turkey,” Mitarachi said in a statement. “We urge Turkey to stand up and stop this unofficial provocation.”
Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Katakli responded to Mitaraci on Twitter, saying he was distorting facts and lying.
Katakali accused Greece of deporting 233 migrants in seven incidents on Friday, adding that Turkey had rescued them.
“Condemning the Turkish Coast Guard is a crime against humanity, you save the dead. It’s common to you, ”Catacly wrote.
Turkey’s coastguard command said it had rescued migrants from rubber boats in the provinces of Izmir, Balaikeshir and Kanakkel.
The Greek Coast Guard says a boat carrying migrants in an incident tried to enter Greek waters with a Turkish coast guard ship on Friday. In another, two Turkish ships tried to push a dinghy with migrants into Greek waters.
In the third incident on the island of Lesbos, a Turkish coastal vessel entered Greek waters and harassed a Greek patrol boat, it said.
About one million asylum seekers, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, migrated from Turkey to Greece by boat in 2015 after Europe’s immigration crisis began. A year later, the European Union executed an agreement with Ankara to stop the flow, and the numbers dropped dramatically.
Mitarachi called on Turkey to “survive” those committed to the agreement.
Neighboring NATO allies Disagreement Over issues related to their respective continental shelf in the Mediterranean, maritime rights, and air space, energy, competitive claims regarding the location of ethnically divided Cyprus and several islands in the Aegean Sea.
Citing the tensions, Turkey last month protested against an agreement for wires under the grid to connect the electricity grid between Greece, Israel and Cyprus.
According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Ankara believes the route planned for the cable runs along Turkey’s continental shelf.
The exploratory talks are intended to lay the groundwork for formal talks, but the two countries have made little progress in more than 600 meetings since 2002 and cannot agree on what should be discussed.