Greek intelligence has disclosed that the Turkish government plans to allow 3,000 migrants to leave their shores every day to head for Greece.
The detailed plans, disclosed to Greek newspaper Proto Thema, come following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threat to flood the continent with migrants if the nation’s accession negotiations to the European Union (EU) were halted.
“If you go any further, these border gates will be opened,” Erdoğan said last week. “Neither me nor my people will be affected by these dry threats. It wouldn’t matter if all of you approved the [European Parliament] vote.”
The intelligence analysts have said that people traffickers have amassed thousands of motor boats and dinghies along the western coast of Turkey, and the operation could begin within weeks.
The analysts cited in Proto Thema had said that the plans have the support of Erdoğan.
“No one is underestimating Mr Erdoğan and his unpredictability these days,” Athanassios Drougas, an intelligence expert in Athens, told The Times.
“These plans, along with explicit threats that the Turkish president has made in recent weeks, have Greece’s joint chiefs of staff seriously concerned.
“They are fearful and they have told the political leadership here that if Turkey opens the floodgates yet again, Greece, in its current state of financial and social distress, will not be able to withstand the shock. It will spell war or wreak the havoc of one.”
Following the closure of the Balkan route, more than 60,000 migrants remain Greece. AMNA reports that on Monday, 11,801 migrants were recorded alone on three northern Aegean islands: 5,918 on Lesvos, 3,701 on Chios, and 2,182 on Samos.
Mr. Drougas said: “It’s no surprise that the Hellenic Navy and special units have been undertaking increased exercises around Greek islands, mainly in the northern Aegean, for fear of a sudden attack in the case of a dramatic deterioration in Ankara’s relations with the EU.
“With Europe in a mess, Mr Erdogan feels he has a free hand in trying to blackmail the bloc using the refugee crisis as leverage.”
The EU brokered a deal with the Near Eastern nation where in exchange for stemming the flow of migrants travelling across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece, and then heading for rich northern European countries, Turks would receive visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Area and accelerated progress in Turkey’s membership bid of the supranational bloc.