Crisis Reignited, Greece Expects 100,000 Refugees, Migrants in 2020

December 20, 2019

ATHENS – Scrambling to deal with a resurgence in refugee and migrant arrivals after taking power this summer, Greece’s New Democracy government anticipates another 100,000 will come in 2020, straining resources and overwhelmed with asylum seekers.

They are coming from Turkey, where they first went fleeing war and strife in their homelands, especially Afghanistan and Syria’s civil war, as well as economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa and other countries.

Turkey allows human traffickers to keep sending them during an essentially-suspended swap deal with the European Union that has seen only 2,000 of the more than 96,000 in Greece, including some 41,000 in island camps and detention centers, sent back.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is appointing a migration chief to oversee the rekindled crisis, wants to send 20,000 back to Turkey, with no way of forcing that, and move 20,000 to the mainland to offset new arrivals but that’s being resisted by officials and residents in towns where they would be moved.

Almost all are seeking asylum after the EU closed its borders to them and as Mitsotakis appealed for help which he hasn’t gotten and as the sanctuary seekers just keep coming, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatening to flood the EU with millions more, through Greek islands, as he’s engaged in disputes over energy drilling in the Aegean off Cyprus and claiming Greek seas, including off the major islands of Rhodes and Crete.

The Greek government predicts 100,000 more will arrive from Turkey in 2020, the German news site Deutsche Welle said. “The crisis is happening now, and it is serious,” Manos Logothetis, Greece’s commissioner for migration, told the German Funk media group.

More than 45,000 arrived since New Democracy took office after winning July 7 snap elections, blaming the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of an open-door policy that encouraged them, as activists said they were being kept in inhumane conditions.

Logothesis said the situation now is even “clearly more critical” for Greece than the 2015 migrant crisis, when hundreds of thousands came through Greece to reach the EU.

To ease the crisis, Logothesis said the government wants to deport 10,000 asylum-seekers to Turkey as soon as possible but needs another 270 asylum case reviewers to speed the process of reviewing applications and sort out those ineligible.

The government plans to replace camps with new detention centers on the islands, which has drawn fire from officials and residents who have grown weary of hosting them and complaining of too little help yet.


ATHENS – After vowing to keep out refugees and migrants – and denying reports of pushing them back – Greece's New Democracy government is going to extend a fence along the northern border with Turkey by the Evros River.

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O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

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