Greece denies killing migrant attempting to cross from Turkey
Tension at the Greece-Turkey border is at boiling point after Ankara said it would not stop people heading for the EU.
Greece has denied claims by Turkey that it fired live ammunition at refugees and migrants on their shared border, with several allegedly injured and one later dying.
“I deny it categorically,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters on Wednesday when asked about Turkey’s allegation.
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“Turkey fabricates and channels fake news against our country,” Petsas said. “It fabricated another piece of fake news today, concerning alleged injuries from Greek fire.”
The allegation was made by the office of the governor of Edirne, a northwestern Turkish province bordering Greece, earlier on Wednesday.
“Six men were injured after live bullets were used,” the governor’s office said, adding one of the men later died of his injuries.
The Edirne governor also said “members of the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, among others, have witnessed the events”.
A video being circulated to journalists by the Turkish authorities also appears to show a tense standoff with a group of at least dozens of people, though exactly what level of violence may have occurred is not clear from the footage.
Greece has accused Turkish authorities of systematically issuing misleading statements regarding the movement of asylum-seekers on the border after Ankara last week announced it would no longer block their passage to Europe.
Petsas on Wednesday said a claim by Turkey that it allowed 100,000 people to cross the border was also false.
“Throughout the day, we have heard sound bombs,” said Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the Turkish side of the border.
“I have seen smoke, fire, and refugees coming back from the checkpoint have told us about heavy tear gas. We also saw multiple ambulances leaving the scene – you could hear sirens for a good half an hour.
“The Greek government is … saying no one was killed at the border today and they are not using live rounds.”
The refugees on the Turkish side of the border have been talking to Al Jazeera about their treatment at the hands of the Greek police.
“Many of them were able to cross into Greece,” said Ghoneim. “They say, once there, the police beat them, confiscated their phones, their money, their vital documents, and quickly deported them.
“That is in keeping with the Greek government policy of rapid deportations; they have banned the processing of asylum applications. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says countries must not use excessive or disproportionate force and that asylum applications must be processed in ‘an orderly manner’.
“Human Rights Watch is, meanwhile, expressing concern that under international law the refugees’ and migrants’ rights may be violated if they’re not able to file asylum applications.”
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