Greek Govt Warns EU Turkey Is Using Migrants as Foreign Policy Tool

This picture taken from the Greek side of the Greece-Turkey border near Kastanies, shows migrants waiting on the Turkish side on March 2, 2020. - Greece was on a state of alert on March 1, 2020 as it faced an influx of thousands of migrants seeking to cross the border …

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has told European Commissioner for Home Affairs and Migration Ylva Johansson that Turkey no longer accepts rejected migrants and uses them as a foreign policy tool.

Minister Dendias told Commissioner Johansson that contrary to the terms of the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement, signed in the wake of the 2015 surge which began the migrant crisis, Turkey is not taking back bogus asylum seekers.

The Greek minister claimed that Turkey was using migrants as a “tool” in its own foreign policy. He also said that the EU should take a positive approach to countries that accept readmission agreements and penalise those that do not, Proto Thema reports.

Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarakis and Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis also attended the meeting, with the Greek officials expressing a positive opinion of Egypt’s role in preventing new waves of mass migration. They stated that the EU should consider that when negotiating with Egypt.

The Greek officials also discussed Turkey’s presence in Libya, claiming that a Turkish withdrawal from the North African country would benefit the security of the area as well as prevent Turkey from having more influence over another mass migration route.

Earlier this week, Commissioner Johansson visited the Aegean islands of Lesbos and Samos, where some of the largest migrant camps in Greece are located.

While the number of migrants coming into Greece has sharply declined, in large part due to the Wuhan virus pandemic, the Greek government is moving ahead with plans to build new migrant reception structures on the islands, with the EU providing €250 million (£213 million/$292 million) to help fund five new facilities.

During Johansson’s visit, the Commissioner was met with protests from locals in Mytilene in Lesbos, who do not want new migrant facilities on their small island.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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