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Editorial

Turkey Weaponizes Refugees

Let’s not kid ourselves anymore. Greece is under attack by Turkey.

This was made clear by the events over the last few days along the Evros frontier and in the Aegean.

The attack does not constitute open war in the traditional sense that planes, tanks, missiles, etc. are involved.

This attack takes the form of invading hordes of migrants and refugees so exhausted by their plight – many of whom wear on their heads containers with what little is left to them or what is most precious to them – that the Turkish authorities are able to force them to attempt to enter Greece. After feeding them with billions sent by the appeasing EU, Ankara has made them virtual mercenaries.

Turkey has turned these suffering human beings, migrants and refugees, into pawns on the chessboard of Turkey’s strategy against Greece with the additional ultimate goal of blackmailing the EU.

While provocative behavior by Turkey is not a new phenomenon, the presence of these people at the borders is much more conspicuous than Ankara’s previous actions – i.e., violations of Greek airspace or of Cyprus’ national sovereignty by drilling in its EEZ.

And this weapon, sending thousands of migrants/refugees into Greece, is one of Turkey’s most insidious and dangerous actions so far. This is because while an actual war would unite all Greeks inside and outside the country, the migrant/refugee ‘bomb’ has the opposite effect: it divides the Greeks. It pushes those directly concerned, the inhabitants of the Aegean islands, to the brink of the rebellion against the state.

But don’t rush to judge them: people are tired. The Greeks on those islands have lost their sense of security, their property and possessions. Their lifestyle. They can’t take it anymore. And, of course, it is not fair for them alone to bear the burden of the migration problem.

For these reasons, therefore, weaponized refugees are a difficult, cunning, and dangerous challenge for Greece.
The Greek government is taking all measures at its disposal to prevent the influx of refugees/migrants. And while the country’s armed forces and police are capable of fulfilling any task assigned to them by the government, the civil servants – with few exceptions – are another matter. They live in their own world…

The government, facing this crisis, I believe is considering two matters:

The first is what retaliation it should take against Turkey. This dilemma needs special attention because the Turks are probably looking for provocation.

But Greece cannot just stand there with its arms crossed. Let us, however, activate the EU agreement with Turkey, according to which Greece has the right, under such conditions, to send refugees/migrants back to Turkey.

And, second, Greece must consider what help it can get from its allies, the European Union and the United States.

The government is rightly calling for an extraordinary meeting of the EU’s Foreign Ministers. If they can’t offer anything else, they should at least cut back their financial assistance to Turkey and increase the amount given to Greece.

The country that can exert significant influence on Turkey, however, is certainly America, and I am sure that Greece has already called for its intervention at various levels.

Surely the United States’ intervention at this time will be of great significance, given Erdogan’s other difficulties which have brought him to the brink of war with Russia.

However, in this crisis that Greece is going through, unity on our home front is of particular importance.

And here we should note that while the opposition is not openly supporting the government, as it should, it has silenced its criticism.

That, at least, is something.

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