Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis strongly condemned neighboring Turkey during a press conference along the Greek border with representatives of the European Union.
“This is no longer a refugee problem. It is a blatant attempt by Turkey to use desperate people to promote its geopolitical agenda,” Mitsotakis told a packed press room near Evros, in northern Greece.
In a powerful show of solidarity, Mitsotakis was accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, European Parliament President David Sasolli and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who currently holds the rotating Presidency of the European Union.
Labeling Turkey a smuggling nation, Mitsotakis slammed Turkey for opening the floodgates and not only allowing the movement of– but supporting the movement to the border– of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees who had been living safely in Turkey for years.
“The tens of thousands of people who tried to enter Greece did not come from Idlib,” Mitsotakis stated, referring to the region of Syria where the war has escalated.
“Europe will not be blackmailed by Turkey,” Mitsotakis said.
Europe Steps Up
Mitsotakis reminded his colleagues that Greece was doing Europe a great service by protecting its external borders– even adding his own frustration that Europe hasn’t handled the crisis well.
“Let’s be honest,” Mitsotakis stated. “Europe has not been up to the task of handling the migration crisis.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would provide Greece with “all the support needed” to handle the crisis, which began when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened his country’s borders with Greece.
The European Commission president said the bloc would provide 700 million euros ($777 million) to help manage the migrant situation.
“Our first priority is making sure that order is maintained at the Greek external border, which is also the European border,” von der Leyen told journalists.
Watch the complete press conference:
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