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Southern Europe Turkish ships preparing to smuggle illegal immigrants spotted by Greeks

The Greek Navy has spotted around six Turkish cargo ships preparing to smuggle illegal migrants to the Greek islands in the last few days, according to reports.

 Athens is concerned about a repeat scenario of an incident in mid-March which saw a cargo ship that had departed Çanakkale, Turkey run aground in the port of Jia with nearly 200 illegal migrants who Greek authorities later had to move inland, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reports.

Despite Greece having managed the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic quite successfully so far, recording just 60 new cases on Saturday, the same cannot be said for Turkey which recorded 3,148 new cases of the virus yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in Turkey to 30, 217.

Greek authorities estimate that, in the coming days, one or two of the cargo ships that have been spotted preparing to smuggle migrants will more than likely try to exit the port to the Aegean to smuggle hundreds of migrants to one of Greece’s islands or islets.

To guard against this, the Greek navy and coastguard are on high alert. In the case that the Greek coastguard isn’t able to deter the Turkish smugglers, Greece’s naval warships will be called upon to respond to a crisis that could involve harassment by Turkish coastguard and naval personnel.

Earlier this month Turkey threatened to send more migrants to the European Union’s border as soon as the global COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

 “When the coronavirus pandemic is over, we are not going to deter any immigrants who want to return to the Greek-Turkish border in Pazar,” Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said.

Voice Of Europe 
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