While the European Union demanded that Turkey stop using “migratory pressure for political ends”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a decision which does not seem to go in the direction of appeasement, reported French weekly L’Express.
On Thursday, March 5, Ankara announced the deployment of a thousand police officers along a border river with Greece.
“This morning we sent along the Meriç river 1 000 members of the special police force, fully equipped, to prevent them [the Greeks] from repelling” the migrants who are trying to reach Europe, said the Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.
Since Friday, February 28, Turkey has in fact put a recurring threat into play, by opening its land border with Greece, 212 kilometers long. In a few days, several tens of thousands of migrants massed at the border in the hope of crossing into Europe.
Some of the illegals were caught cutting holes in the border fence. In total, Ankara announced that “millions” of migrants could attempt the crossing in the coming days.
On Wednesday 4 March, the heads of government of the 27 countries of the European Union reacted to the threat, accusing Turkey of blackmailing them by using the migrant threat and promising to “take all necessary measures” to protect the borders “with due respect for the EU and international law”.
In return, the Turkish presidency promised not to “consider refugees as a means of political blackmail” even though Ankara is not currently acting in compliance with the 2016 pact, which has significantly reduced the number of migrants arriving in the EU in exchange for financial aid.