Greece will shut down a Kurdish camp at the town of Lavrion, south-east of Athens, according to reports in the local media.
The camp has been criticized by Turkey which claims that members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Gulenists (FETO) and other individuals associated with what it calls terrorist organizations have been using the camp to spread propaganda and initiate attacks against Turkish targets.
Greek media say that the camp, which has been in existence for over 40 years, will be closed on the grounds that the buildings are in bad condition and that those who stay here will be transferred to other refugee camps.
One hundred people in the camp will be sent to the Attica region, while another 50 will be sent to the refugee camp at Malakasa, it’s been reported. The report further said that the local municipality contacted the Migration Ministry to inform them that the buildings in Lavrion could not survive even a middle-range earthquake.
Kurdish camp a point of dispute between Greece and Turkey
The Lavrion camp has been a point of dispute in relations between Turkey and Greece for a long time.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accused Greece, the United States and some EU members of protecting terrorists.
“Who protects them now? Mainly Greece. They run away to Greece, they run away to Europe. They always fled there. They live in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, England and America.
“And America is hiding this man (FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen). Who is hiding him? (U.S. President Joe) Biden is hiding him. They gave them a huge mansion in Pennsylvania, where this man lives. If you ask me where is the center of terrorists, that’s what I’m telling you right now,” Erdogan said according to the Turkish daily Sabah.
Those fleeing Turkey have taken shelter in refugee camps in Lavrion near Athens under the guise of being asylum-seekers, especially in the 1980s, Ankara claims.
Greece has repeatedly denied the Turkish claims saying it does not harbor, let alone train, foreign terrorists.
Camp closure as relations between Greece and Turkey improve
The reported shutting down of the Lavrion camp comes as relations between Greece and Turkey are seemingly improving following the devasting earthquake in Turkey in early February and the train disaster in Greece later in that month.
The Defense Minister of Turkey Hulusi Akar on Friday said he expects a moratorium with Greece in military and airforce exercises in the Aegean Sea between June 15 and Sept. 15, to accommodate tourism.
The behavior of Turkey toward Greece has changed radically since the deadly earthquakes, and Athens has an obligation to respond in a positive way, Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias said.
Dendias noted that since his visit to south-eastern Turkey immediately after the earthquakes, “there are no violations in the Aegean, no overflights, no toxic language, no verbal aggression, no threat of violence.
“Greece has always said that it seeks dialogue under exactly these conditions. So we must, we have an obligation to, respond to such Turkish behavior,” the head of Greek diplomacy told Proto Thema.