Tag: Greece

Turkey, which threatened the EU with open borders, closes them due to coronavirus
Middle East & Africa

Turkey, which threatened the EU with open borders, closes them due to coronavirus

Turkey, which has been blackmailing the EU with open borders and threatening to “flood” Europe with refugees, is closing border crossings as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey will close its crossings on the borders with Greece and Bulgaria at midnight. Passengers will not be allowed to cross them either at the entrance or exit.

Also, Turkey has banned entry into the country for third-country nationals located in Greece and Bulgaria over the past 14 days.

In addition, ferry services between the Turkish coast and the Greek islands in the Aegean have already been stopped.
As exceptions, freight can pass through the border with the EU.

Turkey has already stopped flights to many European countries and closed the border with Iran at the end of February due to fears of the coronavirus. The country recorded 98 cases of coronavirus and first death.

The news of the closure of the border by Turkey may help Greece.

Thousands of migrants arrived at the Greek-Turkish land border earlier this month after Ankara said it would no longer stop their attempts to break into the EU.

On Wednesday night, clashes resumed on the Greek-Turkish border after about 500 migrants tried to break the border fence and enter Greece.

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Turkey’s Erdoğan, EU leaders, and British PM held a video conference to discuss Syrian refugee crisis and coronavirus pandemic
Middle East & Africa

Turkey’s Erdoğan, EU leaders, and British PM held a video conference to discuss Syrian refugee crisis and coronavirus pandemic

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Britain’s PM Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, held a video call to talk about Libya, the Syrian refugee crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. The four leaders were initially supposed to meet in person in Istanbul. However, the summit was held virtually due to travel restrictions.

Turkey has urged the four leaders in the conference to make new cash pledges to keep thousands of refugees from leaving the nation and attempting to arrive in Europe amid a Russian-Syrian assault in north-west Syria.

After a severe shelling in Idlib area a month ago, Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, encouraged thousands of refugees in the nation to proceed towards the borders of Greek islands and the Baltic.

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That push finished when the EU gave Turkey €6bn to dwell the displaced people in Turkey.

The leaders talked about the chances of a new refugee deal, ways to battle the continued Russian warning in Idlib, and the dread that coronavirus could spread the refugee camps flanking Syria in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, The Guardian reported.

The EU has likewise offered an enormous cash amount to the refugees to leave the Greek camps and come back to Turkey. About 13,000 refugees, as indicated by the UN, are stranded on the border with Greece and Bulgaria in Turkey’s Edirne region.

A couple of days back, Turkey announced that refugees inside its borders were free to go, and they accumulate along the Greek borders. The decision shocked the EU and compelled them to aid refugees and to help end the Syrian crisis.

EU leaders criticized the move as blackmail even as they scrambled to pacify Erdogan, The Guardian published.

Article Credit: The Guardian/Al-Monitor

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Why does Erdogan create a refugee crisis on the border with the EU?
Middle East & Africa

Why does Erdogan create a refugee crisis on the border with the EU?

According to the latest data, said the head of the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs Suleiman Soilu, more than 130 thousand illegal migrants have already crossed the border with Greece. Greece, which is struggling to stop the flow, says it is not ready for so many people.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bluntly stated that he did not plan to close the border with Europe or restrain migrants. Hearing about this, refugees from various countries, including from Syria and Iraq, began to draw to the border, hoping to get to Europe.

Fearing an influx of illegal migrants, authorities in neighboring Greece installed barbed wire at checkpoints – the border was closed on the European side. But those wishing to be in Europe continue, in the hope of luck, to line up, pitch tents or sleep right on bare ground. And many are still trying to break into Greece.

Over the past few days, migrants have already stoned Greek border guards and used metal rods. The border guards responded with tear gas.
A video appeared on Tuesday showing how the Greek coast guard shoots water next to an inflatable boat full of migrants, and then a Greek boat pushes the boat back into the sea, forcing her to return to Turkey.

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Some who tried to cross the border by water still managed to get to the Greek island of Lesvos: on frames is a white inflatable boat in which more than 30 people are sitting, including small children. Behind the scenes heard the cries of local residents: “Leave, go back!”

In Turkey, where about 85 million people live, there are already 3.7 million refugees from Syria alone (about 44% of them are children), and authorities say they can no longer cope with the flow of illegal migrants.

According to the data for 2019, the vast majority – 98% – of Syrian refugees live in urban and rural areas, outside temporary accommodation centers or camps. The majority complains about the lack of work and the inability to feed the family. In Europe, refugees expect that a better life awaits them.

A similar problem today was acute several years ago, before the conclusion of an agreement on refugees between the European Union and Turkey in 2016. But then in the country there were 2.73 million Syrian refugees who also tried to get to Europe.
Greece could send back all arriving Syrian refugees to Turkey, and Turkey had to take them back.

In exchange, Turkey received 6 billion euros to help migrants and refugees.

For each illegal migrant returned to Turkey, Europe will provide asylum to one refugee from Turkish camps.

The agreement concerned only Syrians and did not apply to refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or other countries.
After the signing of the agreement, the number of migrants arriving in Greece fell sharply.

Turkey’s current decision actually means refusing to comply with the terms of this 2016 agreement. At the same time, President Erdogan said that the EU did not provide any assistance in resettling Syrian refugees to safe areas in Syria.

Erdogan made the decision to open the border immediately after 30 Turkish soldiers died in the Syrian province of Idlib as a result of air strikes. Turkey responded with strikes from the ground and air, later claiming 60 casualties from its shelling.

Idlib is now perhaps the most important point on the map of Syria. It was here that concentrated the forces of rebels and jihadists trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. That is why the troops of the Syrian president launched an offensive in December, which led to the mass displacement of people: almost a million residents fled from the war to the Turkish border.

At the same time, Erdogan pursues his own interests in Syria and considers Idlib his zone of influence: not only because of problems with refugees, but also because of the need to solve Turkey’s domestic political problems. Many independent experts agree that Erdogan is trying to support the image of the Syrian Sunni defender from the Shiite government of Assad.

“Hey, European Union! If you try to call our operation in Syria an invasion, then we will open the borders and send 3.6 million refugees to you,” Erdogan warned in October.

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Erdogan brings Europe to its knees by sending millions of migrants

Erdogan brings Europe to its knees by sending millions of migrants

“Since we opened our borders, the number of migrants going to Europe is hundreds of thousands and soon there will be millions: they thought we were bluffing, but when we opened the doors the calls started to arrive “. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday warning that millions of migrants and refugees will go to Europe, while the European side expects Turkey to honour its agreement to prevent migrants from reaching Europe. Last week, after Turkey opened its doors hundreds of thousands have crossed the borders. “We stick to the EU-Turkey agreement on refugees and migrants – Brussels says – and we expect that Ankara will honour its commitments”. Erdogan continues to use the migrant issue to intensify his pressure on Western countries to address his position on the Syrian and Libyan conflict.

During a press conference in the evening, Erdogan revealed that Ankara had refused a billion euros of additional aid that would have been offered by the EU to stop migratory flows and accused Greece of killing two migrants on its border, seriously injuring one, without circumstantiating his claims. Erdogan’s blackmail to Europe is turning into a humanitarian drama. Yesterday a child died during the attempt to disembark a group of migrants to Mitilini, on the Greek island of Lesvos. The boy was on a rubber that overturned when approached by a Greek coast guard unit, who rescued 46 other people. His body was found shortly thereafter. According to AFP, arrivals on the islands are multiplying, at least a thousand since yesterday morning even on the borders with Greece and Bulgaria thousands of people continue to crowd in desperate conditions. At least 13 thousand, according to last data of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 120 thousand for the Turkish Government.

EU has secured its full support for Athens. The presidents of the EU Commission, the Eurocamera and the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, David Sassoli and Charles Michel will be on Tuesday on the land border between Greece and Turkey with the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Also, Frontex says it is ready to launch a border defense operation. The agency, which works on border control in coordination with the European Asylum Support Office, could do very little to overcome the crisis, as it was neither empowered nor sufficiently funded to play more than auxiliary roles. Tensions are increasing on the Aegean route with Greece accusing Turkey to has turned into a country of smugglers, while Ankara denounces manoeuvres by the coastguard of Athens to sink a boat with sticks and warning shots, after the launches of tear gas to repel migrants on the border land. In Lesvos, where conditions in the camp for asylum seekers from Moria remain dramatic, tension also grows among the local population.

While Erdogan from Ankara continues to throw petrol on the fire, on the Aegean Islands anti-migrant extremist groups insulted and assaulted reporters, photojournalists and UNHCR staff. Yesterday a far-right extremist group yells stones against a police bus injuring an agent. The same groups attempt to stop the landing of inflatable boats with several children on board. A crisis that is not only humanitarian, but also political and economic. The peace, the security and stability of the Eurozone with already deep divisions among the member states are in big danger. Achieving cohesion in facing a common challenge can be difficult, but achieving it despite sharply diverging interests in the area is a much harder task.

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Do you know why Greece tightens control on Turkish border ?

Do you know why Greece tightens control on Turkish border ?

Holding back the flow of migrants from Turkey, the Greek police used water cannons and tear gas. Refugees threw stones and other objects at law enforcement officers.

To prevent migrants from crossing the border from Turkey, Greek police used heavy water cannons and tear gas against them. According to local media, the incident occurred on Sunday, March 1. Refugees threw stones and other objects at police units.

Greek radio reported that during a collision at a border crossing on the Evros River, closed since February 28, one policeman was injured. According to the Ministry of Migration in Athens, only at this crossing, border guards did not allow almost 10 thousand migrants to enter the country.

The Bulgarian government said that the situation on the border with Turkey remained calm and not a single migrant passed through it.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), on the Turkish side of the 212-kilometer border with Greece in the evening of February 29 there were more than 13 thousand people hoping to infiltrate the EU after Ankara refused to restrain this flow.

Due to the increasing flow of refugees, the European border protection agency Frontex has increased its alertness along the entire length of the borders of the European Union with Turkey to the highest level. On Sunday, the agency informed that, in response to a request from Athens to strengthen the border, steps had already been taken to send additional personnel and technical equipment.

Almost 400 Frontex employees are located on the Greek islands, another 60 in Bulgaria. A small contingent is located on the Greek side of the border with Turkey.

The agreement concluded between Ankara and Brussels in March 2016 suggests that migrants from Syria going to the EU countries will not pass through the Turkish borders. For this, the European Union promised the Turkish side financial support.

According to relevant UN data, Turkey has accepted about 3.6 million refugees from Syria. These numbers have risen recently against the backdrop of a Russian-supported offensive by the Syrian government forces in Idlib. In addition to the Syrians, in Turkey there is a significant number of forced migrants from Afghanistan and Iraq.

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