The Greek government reacted with a double message to Ankara and Europe after Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s move to practically weaponize illegal immigrants and refugees.
According to Deutsche Welle, 120.000 illegal immigrants and refugees are already near the coast ready to move to Greece.
This night, as well as the weekend, will be crucial for the next day both in the Ankara-Moscow rift and in the migrant crisis.
Already, one massive organized attempt by the migrants to storm the Greek borders was stopped by the Greek security forces as soon as the night came in Evros.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis responded immediately to the Turkish president’s brutal blackmailing of Europe stating that the open border policy followed by Athens over the last five years is definitively over and that the Greek government is sealing its borders.
Mitsotakis’ statements were also accompanied by the rapid reaction of the security authorities in Evros, where they prevented more than five attempts by hundreds of illegal immigrants and refugees to cross into Greek territory using tear gas.
Significant numbers of migrants and refugees have gathered in large groups at the Greek-Turkish land border and have attempted to enter the country illegally. I want to be clear: no illegal entries into Greece will be tolerated. We are increasing our border security.
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) February 28, 2020
Mitsotakis’ message on the government’s immigration policy has also been welcomed by Europeans, as the Greek Prime Minister in his telephone conversations with EU leaders has directly raised the issue of the EU’s reaction to the provocative stance of Ankara, which is clearly seeking to make the migrant issue a European problem while Turkey itself is fueling the crisis through its military involvement in Syria.
Urgent Security Meeting
Meanwhile, as it became known late on Friday night, due to the latest developments, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis convenes on Saturday at 09:00 an extraordinary security meeting with the Foreign Minister Nikos Dendia, Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Lefteris Economou, Deputy Minister of National Defense Alkiviadis Stephanis, Chief of National Defence General Staff Constantinos Floros and representatives of the Hellenic Coast Guard.
Seeking to internationalize the migrant issue, Mr Mitsotakis briefed European leaders on the steps Greece has taken to better guard its borders.
Specifically, Kyriakos Mitsotakis had consecutive telephone conversations with Angela Merkel, Charles Michel and Emmanuel Macron. He then spoke with European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who will meet with Erdogan on Monday and who also announced that Bulgaria would also close its borders.