European Union pleaded for migrants in Turkey not to go to the Greek border

World Sergey Matyunin 06-Mar-2020
Greek police fired tear gas trying to stop migrants who sought to force their way across the border from Turkey

The European Union had to appeal directly to migrants in Turkey and beg them not to go to the Greek border.

“The news about the alleged openness (of the Greek-Turkish border) is false and people should not try to move there,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said. “If we want to avoid critical situations, we have to know the truth. Let’s stop this game,” he added.

The EU ministers said the EU was ready to take “all necessary measures” to stop “illegal crossings”.

Greek security forces have used tear gas and water cannon to deter tens of thousands of migrants trying to cross the border from Turkey after Ankara said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal with the EU to keep them.

Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees from the civil war in Syria and faces a further big influx due to continued fighting. It says it cannot accommodate any more and accuses the EU of failing to provide enough help.

Mr Borrell urged Turkey to allow more humanitarian aid trucks into northern Syria. He also said longer-term aid to Turkey would continue to go to helping the country cope.

Under the EU’s 2016 deal with Turkey, the bloc is providing 6 billion euros (5.2 billion pounds) to help finance housing, schools and medical centres for the refugees who have fled Syria’s civil war.

However, EU foreign ministers did not agree a specific amount of extra aid on Friday, in part because Greece and Cyprus have so far resisted any move that might suggest weakness in dealings with Ankara. “There was no deal on additional funding,” Borrell said.