Turkey is seen be­hind spike in refugee ar­rivals

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The flow of refugees and mi­grants to Greece from Turkey is ris­ing rather than fall­ing, with Greek of­fi­cials sus­pect­ing that Turk­ish author­i­ties are turn­ing a blind eye to traf­fick­ers on pur­pose.

Greek po­lice of­fi­cers recorded 28,850 new ar­rivals on Greek is­lands be­tween Fri­day and Sun­day, while the coast guard and the Euro­pean Union’s bor­der agency Fron­tex res­cued 2,561 peo­ple from Fri­day to yes­ter­day morn­ing. Five peo­ple lost their lives dur­ing this pe­riod. They in­cluded a baby, a 7-yearold boy and a 16-year-old boy.

Greek law en­force­ment of­fi­cials linked the spike in ar­rivals to a visit by Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel to Ankara for talks with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

“While Mrs Merkel was vis­it­ing Ankara, Turkey was show­ing its strength by send­ing over 30,000 refugees and mi­grants,” a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer told Kathimerini. “It was as if it was try­ing to tell the Euro­peans, ‘Look what kind of prob­lem I can cre­ate for you.’”

Th­ese thoughts were echoed by a se­nior of­fi­cial at the Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­istry. “The neigh­bor­ing coun­try’s aim is to try to se­cure as much as it can in re­turn from the Euro­pean Union for stem­ming the flow of refugees and mi­grants to Greece, and con­se­quently to Cen­tral and North­ern Europe,” he said. “Un­til it secures what it wants in ex­change it will not make any ef­fort to con­tain the flow.”

Both of­fi­cials spoke on anonymity.

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