ZAGREB – On Friday, the European Union reiterated its refusal to be extorted by Turkey’s use of migrants and refugees, referring to the recent policy of Ankara to push large amounts of migrants and refugees towards the Greek border in an effort to gain financial and military support from Europe.
Foreign Policy Chief of the EU Josep Borrell emphasized that Turkey bears a heavy burden regarding the refugee issue. However, Ankara’s use of refugees as a source of pressure and a bargaining tool is not acceptable. “After the Moscow-Ankara ceasefire agreement, the EU will condense assistance to civilians affected by the conflict,” Borrell stated.
Prior to a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Zagreb, Borrell indicated that the governments of the EU will discuss allocating more money to migrants in Turkey but stressed that the EU will not accept Ankara’s use of refugees as means of extortion.
“The ceasefire is a good thing. Let’s see how it goes. However, it is a prerequisite for increased humanitarian aid to the civilians in Idlib,” Borrell added.
Tension has intensified along the Greek-Turkish borders. Turkish police launched a barrage of tear gas canisters towards Greek border guards in an attempt to facilitate the crossing of migrants and refugees into Greek territory.
Athens considers the confrontations as a threat to national security. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held consultations with European leaders to avoid a repetition of what happened in 2015, when hundreds-of-thousands of asylum seekers flowed into Greece and Italy.