Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has stated that the Turkish move to open its borders to Europe for migrants was an attack on both Greece and the EU, and his government will not take in new waves of migrants.
Chancellor Kurz held a press conference alongside Vice-Chancellor and Green leader Werner Kogler and interior minister Karl Nehammer and said that the recent rush of an estimated 13,000 migrants at the Greek border was “only the beginning”.
He added that the surge in migrants from Turkey was the first real test for the European Union on border security since the migrant crisis of 2015 calling it an “organised rush”, but noted that the activity had been solely on the Greek border and not the Bulgarian border with Turkey, Kronen Zeitung reports.
The migrants gathered at the Greek border, according to Kurz, are also mostly comprised of migrants who have lived in Turkey for years, rather than asylum seekers fleeing from the Idlib region where Turkey has been conducting military operations against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Erdogan Tells Europe: Expect ‘Millions’ of Migrants via Turkey https://t.co/EDBTZiJX5w
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While Green leader Kogler suggested that Austria could take in some women and children from the border, interior minister Nehammer stated that no new asylum seekers would be welcomed in Austria.
“We will not accept them, there is no point in coming,” Nehammer said after noting that Austria had taken a large share of migrants during the height of the 2015 crisis.
All three politicians agreed that there would not be a repeat of 2015 and that the European Union needed to respond to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s actions, which they labelled as “blackmail”.
Since opening the gates to all migrants wanting to come to Europe on Thursday, Erdogan has claimed that millions of migrants are currently on their way to Europe. The Turkish leader also rejected a proposal by the EU that would give his country a billion euros to close the border.