Greece, in clear violation of a fundamental principle of the asylum law, pushed over 80,000 refugees back to Turkey in the last three years, said the Turkish deputy foreign minister on Tuesday.

Delivering a speech at the Human Smuggling and Asylum Law seminar organized by Turkey’s Justice Academy — a state body that trains prosecutors and judges — Yavuz Selim Kiran stressed the significance of international and regional cooperation in providing decent conditions for refugees.

“However, some countries do not hesitate to violate the essential principles of international law. We regretfully see that one of the fundamental principles of the asylum law, the principle of non-refoulement, is violated. In the last three years, Greece pushed back over 80,000 refugees back to our country,” Kiran said.

“Turkey has shared the proofs of Greece’s illegal pushbacks with international organizations, including the EU, and will continue to do so,” he noted.

Drawing attention to Turkey shouldering the responsibility in the recent humanitarian crisis that led to an inflow of refugees, Kiran said: “Turkey is the country hosting the most refugees in the world. Currently, over 4 million refugees, including around 3.6 million from Syria, live in Turkey.”

“Turkey also provides much-needed humanitarian aid to around a total of 9 million Syrian refugees in the country and internally displaced people in Syria,” he added.

Kiran also stressed that the country has been trying to provide the best possible conditions to the refugees and needy people both within and outside of its borders.

“Turkey has spent over $40 billion only for Syrian refugees,” he added.

*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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