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Turkey blames Greece after 12 migrants freeze to death near border

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Asylum seekers sometimes try to reach the Greek border after passing through Edirne in Turkey

Turkish authorities have found the bodies of 12 migrants who froze to death near Greece, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Wednesday, accusing Greek guards of sending them back across the border without shoes.

Greek officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the accusation. In the past Athens has denied Turkish claims that its forces push migrants they capture back into Turkey, or sink migrant boats at sea.

Soylu said on Twitter the 12 people who died were part of a larger group of 22 migrants who were stripped of their shoes and clothing by Greek border security. He did not reveal the nationality of the migrants.

Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and beyond, though the flow has tapered off since 2015-2016, when more than a million people traversed the country to other EU states.

In March 2016, the EU reached an agreement with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees into the bloc and for Ankara to host Syrians fleeing the war in their country in return for billions of euros.

Turkey currently hosts some 4 million Syrian refugees, the world’s largest refugee population, as well as some 300,000 Afghans. It has said it will not accept any more migrants.

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