Three migrants found after ‘freezing to death’ in Turkey

A municipality worker throws salt on snow as people walk on the Galata bridge on March 1, 2018 during snowy day in Istanbul. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Three migrants found after ‘freezing to death’ in Turkey

  • The bodies of three migrants believed to have frozen to death were found in three separate Turkish border villages
  • The area is a major crossing point for refugees and migrants trying to enter the European Union

ANKARA: The bodies of three migrants believed to have frozen to death were found in three separate Turkish border villages, state media reported on Tuesday.
The first body of an Afghan migrant was discovered close to the border with Greece in Serem village in the northwestern province of Edirne, state news agency Anadolu said.
The two other migrants were found in nearby villages — Akcadam and Adasarhanli — days after they had died but their nationalities were not given.
Turkish officials believe the three migrants froze to death, Anadolu said, but their bodies have been sent to Istanbul for further examination.
Authorities caught an Afghan man, named as Jamaluddin Malangi by Anadolu, who told reporters in Edirne that Greek police sent him back to Turkey on a boat via River Evros between Greece and Turkey.
The area is a major crossing point for refugees and migrants trying to enter the European Union.
Malangi, who claimed he knew one of the migrants found dead, said that they sought help after crossing into Greece by knocking on doors.
“We wanted help and during this, someone must have called the police and the Greek police officers came and caught us. First they took us to the police station then they took us near to the river where there were two boats,” Malangi said, quoted by Anadolu.
“We were sent back after being put on them (the boats)” to Turkey, he added.
It was not clear whether the migrants found dead were all part of the same group who entered Greece with Malangi or had separately tried to enter the EU member state.
According to Greek authorities, over 14,000 irregular entries have been recorded across the Turkish border so far this year, compared to some 5,500 in 2017.
But the number of migrants coming to Europe has fallen since the 2015 peak when over a million people landed in Greece from Turkey, the majority via boats.
The decline followed a deal agreed between the EU and Turkey in 2016 to stop the flow of migrants with Ankara agreeing to take migrants landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives, including billions of euros to support refugees in Turkey.


Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’

Updated 16 July 2019
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Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’

  • EU foreign ministers said they are suspending talks with Turkey over air transport agreement
  • They backed EU’s proposal to decrease financial assistance to Turkey

ANKARA: Turkey on Tuesday rejected as “worthless” an initial set of sanctions approved by the European Union against Ankara, and vowed to send a new vessel to the eastern Mediterranean to reinforce its efforts to drill for hydrocarbons off the island of Cyprus.
EU foreign ministers on Monday approved sanctions against Turkey over its drilling for gas in waters where EU member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights. They said they were suspending talks on an air transport agreement, as well as high-level Turkey-EU dialogues, and would call on the European Investment Bank to review its lending to the country.
They also backed a proposal by the EU’s executive branch to reduce financial assistance to Turkey for next year. The ministers warned that additional “targeted measures” were being worked on to penalize Turkey, which started negotiations to join the EU in 2005.
Speaking at a news conference in Macedonia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the sanctions aimed to “appease” Cyprus and were of “no importance.”
“The EU needs us concerning the migration issue or other issues,” he said. “They will come to us and hold contacts; there is no escaping that.”
“They know that the decisions they took cannot be applied,” he said. “They were forced to take the worthless decisions under pressure from the Greek Cypriots and Greece.”
Cavusoglu added: “If you take such decisions against Turkey, we will increase our activities. We have three ships in the eastern Mediterranean, will with send a fourth.”
Earlier, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized the EU for ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots and accused the 28-nation bloc of “prejudice and bias.”
It added that Turkey was determined to protect its rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
Two Turkish vessels escorted by warships are drilling for gas on either end of ethnically divided Cyprus. A third Turkish exploration ship is also in the area. Turkey insists that it has rights over certain offshore zones and that Turkish Cypriots have rights over others.
Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which keeps more than 35,000 troops in the breakaway north. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys full membership benefits.
Cypriot officials accuse Turkey of using the minority Turkish Cypriots in order to pursue its goal of exerting control over the eastern Mediterranean region.
The Cypriot government says it will take legal action against any oil and gas companies supporting Turkish vessels in any repeat attempt to drill for gas. Cyprus has already issued around 20 international arrest warrants against three international companies assisting one of the two Turkish vessels now drilling 68 kilometers off the island’s west coast.