Greek Deputy Minister of Migration and Asylum Giorgos Koumoutsakos has warned that Turkey may unleash another wave of migrants into Greece.
Mr Koumoutsakos said that over the past 15 days, the land border with Turkey in the Evros region had seen a new wave of migratory pressure, warning that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could open the gates for migrants, as he did earlier in the year.
He added that he suspected the Erdogan regime would threaten to open the gates to Europe if sanctions are considered at an EU summit scheduled for the 24th and 25th of September, newspaper Proto Thema reports.
Turkey: Migrants Will Return to Border After Coronavirus Outbreak Ends https://t.co/GgmAVC19Cv
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 31, 2020
“If Erdogan flirts with the thought of exerting pressure through migration, he may not stop at Evros but move on to the islands,” Koumoutsakos said, referring to the Aegean islands, where migrant camps are already heavily overcrowded.
To help fortify the Evros border even further, Greece is expecting 400 new border guards, agents of the European Union border agency Frontex, and an expansion of the eight miles of fencing already in place by March 2021.
Michalis Chrysochoidis, Greek Minister for Citizen Protection, said the expansion would cost around €63 million (£57m/$74m) to complete, adding: “The mission and character of the fence are defensive. It will contribute to the defence and protection of our country.”
Over 50,000 Migrants Denied Entry to Greece Since Turkey Opened Border https://t.co/kLXSMw5EDU
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Greece is preparing for the possibility of a repeat of the events that unfolded along the border in late February to March, when the country was inundated by tens of thousands of migrants. The Greek government had claimed to have stopped over 50,000 from entering the country.
Turkey later closed the border due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, but threatened that migrants would return when the pandemic ended.
Since the closure, tensions between Greece and Turkey have risen over Turkish plans to conduct seismic research for natural resources in areas of the Mediterranean sea which Greece claims as part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Greece has been supported by French President Emmanuel Macron in recent weeks, as well, with the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle recently sent to the area.
Turkish officials have slammed French involvement, accusing France of escalating tensions.
Erdogan: Greeks Will Be Made to 'Understand' Turkey Has 'Military Power' to 'Tear Up' Map https://t.co/xaF0h8nbFG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 5, 2020