ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Turkey's attempts to get migrants and refugees into Greece by land and sea, and a Turkish-Libyan deal dividing the seas between them, claiming waters off Greek islands violates the European Union borders and threatening its security.
“When it comes to our relationship with Turkey it is not just a Greek-Turkish problem, it’s an EU-Turkey problem,” Mitsotakis said during an online discussion with historian Niall Ferguson at the Delphi Economic Forum.
“Greece is a member of the European Union, our security concerns are also the security concerns of the Union, when we are guarding our borders, when we are protecting our borders, we are protecting the borders of the EU,” he said.
“If Turkey is thinking about violating the sovereign rights of the Hellenic Republic, not only will it get a response from Greece, I am pretty sure it will get a response from Europe,” Mitsotakis said, adding that leading EU officials had visited the Evros border during the migrant standoff in March, which appeared to be encouraged by Turkey, “as an indication of solidarity.”
The EU has been reluctant to get tough with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, fearful he will unleash more refugees and migrants on Greece as he tried earlier this year, sending 10,000 to the land border along the Evros River.
They were stymied when Greece closed its side of the border and sent riot police and Army units to repeal attempts to cross as Mitsotakis noted that was the outlying area of the EU's border too.
Turkey his supposed to contain some 5.5 million refugees and tourists who went there fleeing war and strife in their homelands but has repeatedly violated an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU by allowing human traffickers to keep sending them to already overwhelmed Greek islands holding more than some 34,000.