Turkey reports that 76,000 migrants crossed into Europe

However, the figure was very different from the statistics provided by Greece and independent observers who claimed that there were 13,000 migrants along the border.

More than 76,000 migrants crossed from Turkey into the European Union after the Turkish government allowed them to cross at Edirne, on the border with Bulgaria and Greece, revealed Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

“By 09H55 the number of migrants who left our country through Edirne reached 76,358,” Soylu posted on his Twitter account.

The new figure means that more than 29,000 people have crossed the border since 11:50pm on Saturday.

Turkish television stations have been showing since early morning how groups of refugees are travelling by bus to Edirne, the province on Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria.

However, the figure differs greatly from the statistics provided by Greece and independent observers such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which says that there are 13,000 migrants along the border.

Around half a thousand people arrived on the islands of the eastern Aegean this Sunday, showing an increase in arrivals by sea off the Greek coast since Turkey announced last Friday that it could no longer hold refugees.

On Lesbos, one of the islands that has seen the largest number of asylum seekers in years, groups of residents this morning blocked the buses carrying the newly arrived migrants to the camp in Moria.

According to local media, groups of islanders are blocking all roads leading to the notorious refugee camp.

Greece has prevented the entry of nearly 10,000 migrants from Turkey in the past 24 hours, government sources said.

From 06:00 (04:00 GMT) on Saturday until the same time on Sunday, “9,972 entries were prevented in the Evros region,” according to a press release from the Kastanian border post in northeastern Greece.

At 2am on Sunday (00am GMT), the police and army prevented “an organized attempt by migrants to cross the border en masse”, the statement said.

According to Greek Deputy Defense Minister Alkibiadis Stefanis, some 9,972 attempts at illegal entry were prevented on Saturday night.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan linked yesterday’s decision to facilitate the passage of refugees to Greece to the lack of support from the European Union to Turkey against the regime of Damascus in Syria, after the escalation of violence between the two armies in the province of Idlib.

With his decision to open the border with Europe, President Erdogan was carrying out an old threat of allowing refugees to enter the continent.

Turkey’s decision to open its borders with Europe coincides with a military escalation in northwest Syria that has led to increasing direct confrontations between Turkish and Syrian forces.

The European Borders and Coasts Agency (Frontex) has announced the reinforcement of its personnel and equipment in Greece, in view of the situation created on the borders with Turkey and the constant increase in refugees trying to reach European territory.

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