By Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) - Tens of thousands of migrants recently have left Turkey via its Greek border after Turkey announced it would not stop them from reaching Europe.
“The number of migrants who left Turkey to cross into Greece has reached 135,844 as of 9 p.m. local time (0600GMT),” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter on Wednesday.
The migrants are using Turkey’s Pazarkule border gate in the northwestern Edirne province or trying to reach Greece via unsafe sea travels on rubber boats.
Last week, Turkish officials announced that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe.
Since then, thousands of irregular migrants have flocked to Edirne to make their way into Europe.
The decision was made after 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred by the regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syrian late February.
The Turkish soldiers were in Idlib under a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018, to protect civilians from attacks by the Assad regime and its allies.
Idlib, just across Turkey’s southern border, falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in the 2018 deal. But the Syrian regime and its allies have consistently broken the terms of the agreement, launching frequent attacks inside the territory, where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Turkey, which already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian migrants, more than any country in the world, says it cannot absorb another refugee wave.
Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.