Greek security forces at the border continue to use brutal violence against refugees and migrants trying to cross the border. In the latest attempt, Greek border units started to use “green laser” to damage migrants’ eyes to stop their efforts.
As 22 days passed since Turkey decided not to prevent migrants from trying to cross the European border, refugees and others have been waiting to enter Greece from Turkey’s western Edirne province, despite Greek violence and harsh conditions.
In response, Greek authorities come up with new methods every day to discourage migrants. While Greek border police continue to use tear gas, plastic bullets and sometimes real bullets, they also used air fans to increase the impact of the tear gas. The last method has been the use of green lasers, which run the risk of causing permanent damage to the retina.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Edirne Health Director Ali Cengiz Kalkan said Greece has been practicing inhuman treatment on migrants waiting near its borders.
Kalkan said the green laser used by Greek security forces in recent days is dangerous for someone’s eyes in case of direct contact.
Stating that it can even cause blindness, Kalkan added: “On the one side, there is Turkey which helps children, women and refugees; on the other side, there is Greece which brutalizes migrants.”
Ankara last month announced that it would no longer try to stop refugees and migrants from reaching Europe, accusing the European Union of failing to keep its part of a 2016 refugee deal.
The EU-Turkey agreement has been successful in stemming migrant flows in recent years, but the EU's reluctance to take in migrants and refugees from Turkey, and bureaucratic hurdles in transferring promised funds for migrants have led to sharp criticism from Turkish politicians.
Under the 2016 deal, the EU was to provide 6 billion euros ($6.9 billion) in financial assistance, while Turkey agreed to stop irregular migrants heading to Europe. But Turkey says less than half that amount has been provided.
Ankara also criticized its European partners for not fully implementing the 2016 agreement and for backing away from their political commitments, including negotiations on upgrading the customs union.
Ankara also warned that due to incessant attacks on civilians in Idlib, Syria, 1 million refugees were moving toward Turkey's borders.
Turkey, which already hosts nearly 4 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world, says it cannot absorb another wave.
Thousands of refugees and migrants have since flocked to Turkey's Edirne province – which borders Greece and Bulgaria – to make their way into Europe.
Some try river crossings to reach Greece, and others have been waiting for the Greeks to open the gates in a buffer zone between Turkey's Pazarkule and Greece's Kastanies border crossings.
The Greek reaction to the migrants and refugees has been harsh, including physical attacks and tear gas. Several have even been killed by Greek forces.