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Greece fears new wave of refugees

Statesman News Service |

The Greece government fears a new influx of refugees if the European Union (EU)-Turkey agreement on migrants/asylum seekers returning to Turkey fails, a media report said on Sunday.

The Greece Minister of Migration, Yanis Muzalas, insists there was a minimum increase in arrivals since the failed Turkish coup and that at least 100 refugees a day was simply not comparable to the thousands of arrivals earlier in 2016, Efe news reported.

The numbers might not seem dramatic but they were enough to collapse the islands dealing with arrivals, currently there were over 10,000 refugees in reception centres with a maximum capacity of 7,000.

Since last years closure of borders, Greece feels it endured the brunt of the refugee crisis, along with Italy and Germany which granted refuge to over a million people, but fears that the problem was coming straight back to them.

The tactic used by Austria to secure the support of East European countries to close the central and northern European borders was in response to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open border policy.

The known Turkish democratic shortcomings have been compounded by the purge unleashed after the failed Turkish coup on July 16.

This has only exacerbated the doubts surrounding Turkey’s capacity to continue with its EU candidacy agenda, starting with the modification of its antiterrorist law, a condition Turkey must fulfil to obtain its coveted lifting of EU visa requirements for Turkish nationals.

In the past weeks the EU position remained the same: the agreement still holds but with no antiterrorist law reform there will be no liberalisation of visas.

From Turkey, the response was even more menacing as Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government repeats over and over that no EU visa reform would mean no refugee agreement.

In view of the scarce success of the EU nations resettlement programme, only 2,200 refugees were resettled in other countries of the 63,000 originally pledged, Greece had more than enough reason to feel unease.