Greece’s Migration & Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi sent a letter to European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johannson on Monday, as Turkish vessels continue to escort inflatable migrant boats towards European borders.
The letter emphasises, among other things, that “it is a well-established fact that these migrants departed the Turkish coast, and given that they were under close observation and escort by Turkish vessels, the conclusion is that they were not being persecuted, and their lives were not in danger.”
He was backed by Greek Coast Guard data showing Turkish support of these failed attempts at illegal crossings.
“It is beyond doubt that the Turkish authorities continue to support the passage of migrants, with the clear aim of creating propaganda through the media, putting pressure on the EU’s external borders and thus seeking to escalate with Greece,” he continued.
The Minister stressed that Greece “does not tolerate illegal migrant crossings orchestrated by Turkey,” and called on the European Union “to react in a coordinated manner to such actions, which do not specifically target one member state, but the EU as a whole.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel are scheduled to visit Turkey this week, where they will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.