EU's Borrell heads to Greek-Turkish border over fears of new migrant wave

Amid fresh concerns of a possible attempt by Turkey to push migrants into Europe via Greece, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, will on Wednesday visit the Kastanies crossing on the Greek-Turkish border and hold talks with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens.

Borrell will travel to the northeastern region of Evros with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to meet with authorities guarding the border.

He is also scheduled to hold talks in Athens with Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos that are expected to focus on recent suggestions by Turkey that it would not prevent a second migrant push, as well as growing tensions between Greece and Turkey over Ankara’s drilling plans in the eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, Dendias met on Tuesday with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who tweeted afterward that the two men “affirmed once again our legal understanding that islands are entitled to EEZ (exclusive economic zone) and continental shelf, just as mainland.”

At the same time, Pyatt also noted they had the “opportunity to reiterate our support for a ceasefire in Libya leading to a political resolution and our call for all external parties, including Russia AND Turkey, to stop shipments of arms and jihadists that are deepening the violence.”

With tension brewing between France and Turkey over Libya, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also complained on Tuesday that Paris is ignoring Ankara’s legitimate rights in the eastern Mediterranean and favours maximalist ambitions - in what was seen as a reference to Greece and Cyprus.

Aksoy said that by ignoring Turkey’s rights, France is raising obstacles to peace and stability and fuelling tensions.

Aksoy also said French President Emmanuel Macron “must have suffered an eclipse of the mind” following his remarks on Monday that Turkey is playing a “dangerous game” in Libya.

Turkey’s behaviour was also broached by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing “deep concern” about Ankara’s escalating aggression in the eastern Mediterranean. He also called for sanctions to be brought against Turkey as its behaviour in the eastern Mediterranean threatens U.S. interests.

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) on Tuesday thanked Menendez for his efforts to hold Turkey accountable.

This article has been republished with permission by Kathimerini.