A sharp increase in migrant arrivals on the shores of the Aegean islands is being read as a reaction by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reports of certain European Union member-states refusing to foot the bill of an EU-Turkey migration deal, Kathimerini understands.
Greece fears new wave of migrants induced by Turkey
Greek authorities believe the arrival of a new wave of 177 migrants on the eastern Aegean island of Chios after a long period of relative quiet is a warning by Turkey to EU member states not to renege on a migrant deal, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said.
“What happened yesterday ... clearly proves that the Turkish president controls the flows toward Greece and, by extension, to the European Union,” an official at Greece’s Citizens’ Protection Ministry said.
Greek coast guards rescued 40 migrants from a dinghy off the island on Wednesday.
A Turkish coast guard boat initially intervened, claiming it was in Turkish waters, but left as the migrants' boat proceeded, the newspaper said.
The same day, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos upped his rhetoric against his NATO ally.
“Our opponent’s provocations, threats and insults don’t scare us,” he said. “Let them claim an inch [of Greek land], if they dare.”
He also said that he would send 3,500 more troops to guard the Aegean islands and the Turkish border.