Ankara (AFP) – Turkey on Saturday vehemently rejected accusations by Amnesty International that it was forcibly returning Syrian refugees to the conflict-torn country, as Ankara prepares to take back, under an EU deal, Syrians who travelled illegally to Greece.
“The allegations do not reflect reality in any way,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. “It is sad that this kind of news was shared with the public (by the media) in such an intense way,” it added.
Amnesty International accused Turkey on Friday of illegally forcing groups of some one hundred Syrians a day to return home, saying the alleged expulsions showed the “fatal flaws” in the migrant deal agreed with the EU.
Greece is due on Monday to start sending back to Turkey all migrants, including Syrians, who crossed the Aegean Sea illegally.
Amnesty said its revelations showed Turkey was not a “safe country” for Syrian refugees to return to.
But the Turkish foreign ministry insisted there was “no change” in the open-door policy that for the last years has allowed any Syrian fleeing the civil war there to seek refuge in the country.
“Turkey is committed to continue to provide protection to Syrians fleeing violence and instability under its international obligations,” it added.