ATHENS- Theformer ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, which had been accused by New Democracy of having an open door policy that flooded Greece and its islands with scores of thousands of refugees, is now blaming the Conservatives for a rekindled crisis.
After New Democracy ousted the Leftists in July 7, 2019 snap elections – SYRIZA had 4 ½ years of rule, during which the refugees and migrants began pouring in – Greece saw another surge of some 44,000.
That led New Democracy to implement plans to speed asylum applications processing, and build new detention centers to sort out those deemed ineligible for asylum, taking land on islands to do it, setting off a fury of protest.
Now, with Turkey opening its borders to let potentially millions of refugees and migrants try to reach the European Union through Greece by land and sea, SYRIZA said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is mishandling the dilemma.
During his reign, former premier Alexis Tsipras refused to transfer refugees and migrants from islands now holding some 42,000 of them, saying they couldn’t be brought to the mainland because it would violate terms of a 2016 EU-Turkey swap deal.
Now he said that’s exactly what should happen without mentioning that he didn’t do as he continues a pattern of reneging on his own policies as he did when he imposed more austerity measures after taking power after swearing he wouldn’t.
If the refugees and migrants aren’t moved said SYRIZA – some 14,000 already have – it will ramp up growing violence between ethnic groups and with riot police called in to quell constant battles.
Confrontations with islanders opposed to the new centers, fearing they would be permanent as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would send droves through Greece, led New Democracy to pull back riot police.
SYRIZA made its call after the government held an extraordinary meeting of the country’s Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA during which Greece announced emergency measures to tackle the crisis at its border with Turkey, said Kathimerini in a report.
SYRIZA also criticized the government for failing to take effective measures in time, despite repeated warnings from Turkey that it would allow hordes of migrants to pass through to the EU which said it stands in solidarity with Greece but has little power otherwise against what Turkey does.