Claim: Turkish Military Helping Migrants Cross Greek Border, Making Sure Smugglers Don’t Charge Too Much

Migrants wait next Turkish soldiers as they resumed efforts to enter Europe next to the fe
OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

The Turkish armed forces stand accused of helping to smuggle migrants across the Greek border after the Turkish government opened the gates to Europe last week.

The accusations stem from an interview with a Turkish soldier named Ahmet who claimed that his commander had ordered him and his fellow border troops to show the migrants how to reach Greece.

“He said that there are lots of refugees coming here and that we will show them the way to Greece,” Ahmet told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, whose journalists on the ground at the border added the Turkish troops had moved migrants from a makeshift camp and brought them to local boat owners to be ferried across to Greece.

“We have checked that everything has gone well and that the smugglers do not charge too much. We also have intelligence about where and when it is safe to get over,” the Turkish soldier said.

“I would think I have helped between 700 and 800 migrants cross the river in three days,” Ahmet claims.

The attempts at crossing the border have been met with some resistance from the Greek authorities and some media have claimed that Greek border guards shot and killed a Syrian migrant, a claim that Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas dismissed as “fake news” and “Turkish propaganda”.

The claims that the Turkish military are helping to smuggle migrants into Greece comes just days after allegations that the government was using state-owned trains and unmarked buses to ship migrants to the Greek border area.

Turkish people smugglers have also allegedly dropped their prices to as little as £11, with one smuggler named Semih stating: “Of course I see it as my duty. It’s money that motivates me. I want them to go away from here [the migrants] so that Turkey’s economy gets better. That’s all that matters to me.”

There are an estimated 3.6 million asylum seekers in Turkey and earlier in the week President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that millions were on their way to Europe.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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