Turkey Dooms EU To New Migrant Crisis
Turkey brought down a new flow of illegal migrants to the European Union, opening the borders for all 3.7 million refugees in the country. Thousands of people are already storming frontier posts and barbed wire fences in search of a better life. Greece and Bulgaria are drawing additional forces to the borders, however, the leaders of the European Union structures still hope to resolve the issue through diplomatic means. They are sent to the Greek-Turkish border for negotiations and assessment of the situation.
Several dozen men, women and children – Afghans, Syrians, Iraqis, Ethiopians and many others – crouched down, walked along the banks of the Maritsa River, which runs through the border between Turkey and Greece. Many carried small backpacks of all shapes and colors, and dry tree branches for disguise. Algerians were at the forefront of the group – they kept order and shouted at everyone who turned on mobile phones and, by illuminating the screens, could give out their position to the border guards. The leaders also instructed: once near the border, we must move forward, do not look back and do not help comrades in misfortune. Having reached the goal, the travelers laid on the ground, as they knew how to disguise themselves, and crawled towards the border fence.
This is how The Guardian’s correspondent described the first nightly attempts of refugees to cross the border with Turkey after the announcement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he no longer intended to restrain the flows of those wishing to move to Europe. The very next day, small groups turned into crowds of thousands that broke a metal fence on the Turkish border and ran face-to-face upon Greek border guards in protective police uniforms.
The situation froze then: migrants began a kind of siege of the Greek border, made bonfires and set up an impromptu camp on no man’s land between the two states. Young people tried to throw stones at the police, but in response received volleys from water cannons, stun grenades and tear gas. Others sometimes tried to break through the border, but get a rebuff.
On Tuesday, leaders of the key European Union structures – Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel and David Sassoli will go to the border of Greece and Turkey, where they will meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. At the same time, additional forces from the European border agency Frontex have already been mobilized, which promised to provide « immediate assistance » to Greece. The forces of the Austrian border police are also sent to help Athens, the head of the country’s Interior Ministry Karl Nehammer said.
Meanwhile, individual EU countries are already making their own efforts to prevent the threat. So, for example, although the flow of migrants seeking Estonia is not so significant, Head of the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs Mart Helme (known for his anti-immigration views), has already announced that Tallinn is ready to restore full border control in connection with the spread of coronavirus and a new flow of refugees. Estonia refuses to accept any of the new arrivals, he warned in advance.
Nevertheless, the Frontex agency noted: it will be difficult for them to stop the massive wave of illegal immigrants, even if Ankara changes course and decides to help the EU deal with the influx of refugees. So, obviously, the EU will have to deal with two crises – migration and coronavirus – at the same time. And one is likely to exacerbate the other even more.
source: cnn.com, theguardian.com