British reporter draws wrath of Turkey’s ombudsman and pro-govt reporter 

British reporter Mark Stone who questioned Turkey’s alleged taking of hundreds of refugees by bus to the Greek and Bulgarian borders earned not only the wrath of the country’s chief ombudsman but also that of a reporter working for a pro-government television news channel during an interview on Tuesday.

Chief Ombudsman Seref Malkoc rebutted the reporter’s question, saying it was “unjust and immoral” to accuse Turkey of transferring the refugees to the border region.

“You must go and ask such questions to the European officials. [You must] question their [European] insensitivity. [You must] ask the Greeks who are obliged to open the border gates [to the refugees] according to international law. You must thank the Turkish public,” Seref Malkoc responded angrily.

Following Malkoc’s remarks, A Haber’s reporter, Jaffar Hashain, also slammed Stone, saying, “you [the foreign reporters] always [try to] provocate here.”

In response to Hashain, Stone said his job as a pressman is to question the acts of the Turkish authorities.

The exchange took place at the Pazarkule border gate.

“[Meanwhile,] my colleagues are questioning the Greek and EU authorities at the other end of the border. You understand this, don’t you?” Stone asked.

Pro-government reporter Hashain later asked one of the refugees whether he had been taken to the border area by buses in an attempt to refute the claim of mass transfer. The questioned refugee said he had come there by taxi at his own expense.

Thousands of refugees living in Turkey have been heading toward the EU border since late on Thursday when Turkey said it would not stop them from reaching Europe.

Since then, Turkey has held back border guards on land and sea, an act which caused more than 130,000 migrants to leave Turkey through Edirne, according to Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

Other reports state that more than 10,000 migrants—including many from Syria and Afghanistan—have arrived at Turkey’s land borders with EU countries, and at least 1,000 have landed on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands.

Turkey’s move to allow refugees to head to the EU came after at least 33 Turkish troops were killed in Idlib on Thursday in a deadly attack by Russia-backed Syrian government forces.

Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had repeatedly threatened to open the gates, unless Turkey gets more international support in the Syrian conflict.

Turkey hosts 3.7 million refugees from Syria’s civil war and faces another big influx after an escalation of fighting between Syrian regime forces and Turkey-backed rebels in northern Syria.

Turkey’s Erdogan says his country cannot take in any more migrants.

Turkey’s act of opening doors to the EU means that it would no longer uphold a 2016 accord with the EU to keep refugees on its territory in return for billions of euros in aid.

In reaction to the Turkish move, the Greek and Bulgarian soldiers and riot police have remained on high alert along the land borders since Thursday, trying to stop refugees from crossing into Europe.

The Greek authorities have been accused of firing tear gas at migrants, including women and children, stuck in the no-man’s land.

The ombudsman Malkoc was carrying out an inspection tour of the area when he reacted to the question of the Sky News reporter.

A Haber news channel belongs to Kalyon Holding, a company that is well-known with its close relations to Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

The holding is included in Turkey’s many big flagship projects, such as the new Istanbul Airport, the 3rd bridge on the Bosphorus, and other highway and railway lines.

The holding’s media group, Turkuvaz, is managed by Serhat Albayrak, the brother of Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s finance minister.

Migrants face tear gas on Greece-Turkey border

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