Government braces for emergency as Erdogan opens migrant floodgates

Mired in battles in Idlib where over 30 Turkish troops were killed by Russian-backed Syrian, at loggerheads with Russia and asking US President Donald Trump for assistance on the ground, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the Greek government in a tailspin and a virtual defensive war footing by announcing that he will no longer abide by the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016 which severely curbed the flow of migrants to Greece and by extension to other EU countries.

An estimated 1,000 migrants gathered at the Greek-Turkish border at Evros where the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Konstantinos Floros and Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis went today to coordinate and oversee security measures with stepped up ground patrols and monitoring by helicopters.

The government ordered intense Coast Guard patrols in the Aegean between the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Kos, and Samos and the Turkish coast, where an estimated 130,000 migrants have gathered and are poised to make the Aegean crossing.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had contacts today regarding the crisis situation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Athens is also in contact with Nato officials.

It is believed that the war in Idlib will result in a flow of one million refugees and migrants.

New Democracy MP Angelos Syrigos, a professor of international law at Athens’ Panteion University has called for push-backs, which were staunchly opposed under the SYRIZA government and are severely restricted under international law.

The German periodical Spiegel quoted Turkish officials and documents which claim that Athens conducted 58,000 illegal pushbacks in the last 12 months, a figure not corroborated by international sources.

Mitsotakis will hold an emergency meeting with the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, and public order as well as the country’s top military brass including Floros, deputy defence minister Alkiviadis Stefanis, and the Cooast Guard Chief to review the situation and determine strategy.

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