Why Greece has suspended all flights from Turkey
TRIPPING FOR THOUSANDS of travellers has been halted across Greece after Turkish authorities imposed a travel ban on travellers in the country.
Travel restrictions have also been imposed on Greek and other European Union citizens in Turkey.
The suspension of flights is due to the security threat that Greece has faced from Islamic State and other extremist groups.
The decision is the latest in a series of restrictions imposed by Turkey.
Turkey says the ban is needed to protect Greek citizens, but there is little evidence that that is the case.
“The Turkish government does not have any proof that it is a necessary security measure,” said Mehmet Kucuklioglu, a senior analyst at the Istanbul-based Turkey Centre for Strategic Studies.
“But it is very obvious that it was in response to the threat posed by ISIS and other extremists.”
Travel restrictions were imposed after Turkey’s military, backed by Turkish-led allies, launched an operation to capture the border town of Jarablus.
Since then, the government has been bombing the town, and Ankara has accused Turkey of using air strikes on its own territory in support of ISIS.
“They have taken control of a town and there are many Daesh fighters there,” said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who said his country has “zero tolerance” for terrorism.
“There is no room for a political process that is based on lies, and the only way to solve the crisis is to stop the fighting and end the war in Syria.”
The Turkish government says the military operation has saved thousands of lives and that there is no reason for the country to have banned travel.
But Turkey has repeatedly criticized Turkey’s EU partners for failing to cooperate with Turkey on an international peacekeeping mission in Syria.
The EU has called for Turkey to respect its obligations and the ceasefire it announced on Sunday.
EU officials say they are concerned about Turkey’s continuing military intervention in Syria, but they have been unable to persuade Ankara to end its attacks on civilians and the Kurdish fighters who are fighting alongside the Syrian government.
“Turkey’s intervention in the Syrian war is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention and of the agreements it signed with the Syrian opposition,” said Marwa Kazi, a European Union spokeswoman.
“We urge Turkey to abide by international humanitarian law and abide by the cessation of hostilities in Syria as well as to abide, in line with its obligations under international law, by all the relevant provisions of the agreement.”
The European Commission has also expressed concern over Turkey’s actions in Syria and urged it to refrain from any further military action.
The European Union says Turkey is breaching international law when it targets civilians and it is also breaking its own commitments to respect the Geneva Conventions by bombing Kurdish areas in Syria without permission.
The commission says it is taking the necessary steps to bring Turkey to account and to hold Turkey accountable.
“At this point, the EU stands ready to assist Turkey in any way that we can,” said Jyrki Katainen, the commission’s executive director for enlargement.