About 18,000 illegal migrants cross into Europe. The number is set reach 30,000 over the weekend.
Europe has been hit by a massive migrant wave after Turkey opened border crossings on Friday. Thousands of migrants started amassing along the Greek and Bulgarian borders, with Turkish authorities offering free bus rides for illegal migrants to reach border crossings.
About 18,000 illegal migrants have already crossed into Europe, the Turkish government confirmed. This number is set to reach 30,000 over the weekend. The current influx is a grim reminder of the Migrant Crisis of 2015 which led to a sharp rise in migrant crime and a string of deadly Islamic terror attacks across Europe.
‘What did we do yesterday ? We opened the doors,’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday. The Turkish decision came after Russia-backed Syrian Forces killed 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike in north-western Syria. In December, the Turkish army invaded parts of Syria to wage war against the Kurdish forces controlling the area.
Migrants clashed with Greece and Bulgaria border guards, as they forced their way into Europe, European media outlets reported. Greece will not ‘tolerate’ any ‘illegal entries,’ Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Twitter.
News agency Reuters reported the unfolding migrant crisis along the European borders:
Hundreds of migrants in Turkey started arriving on the borders with Greece and Bulgaria on Friday after a senior Turkish official said Ankara would no longer abide by a 2016 EU deal and stop refugees from reaching Europe.
Some wore face masks, in an apparent attempt to guard against the coronavirus outbreak now sweeping the world and adding to the concerns of hard-pressed European authorities.
Greece and Bulgaria, both European Union member states, vowed not to admit the migrants. Greek police used smoke grenades at one border crossing, while Bulgaria sent an extra 1,000 troops to its border with Turkey. (…)
Syrians, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Moroccans were among the migrants arriving at the border crossings with Greece and Bulgaria, about 200 km (125 miles) west of Istanbul, Turkey’s pro-government Demiroren news agency said.
Significant numbers of migrants and refugees have gathered in large groups at the Greek-Turkish land border and have attempted to enter the country illegally. I want to be clear: no illegal entries into Greece will be tolerated. We are increasing our border security.
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) February 28, 2020
The opening of the border is a breach of the 2015 EU-Turkey migrant deal brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Ankara had agreed to regulate the flow of immigrants in exchange for billions of dollars and resettlement of around 150,000 to 200,000 migrants from Turkish camps to Europe each year. The EU has already paid Turkey €6 billion as part of the deal, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.
It is unclear if the border opening is Erdogan’s way of getting more concessions from Brussels. Apart from more money, Erdogan wants Europe to open its borders to 80 million Turkish citizens. “The EU also promised to expedite negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the EU, visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens and an extension of the customs union,”Deutsche Welle added.
This is not the first time Erdogan has threatened Europe with ‘opening the floodgates’ to mass migration. Despite his lucrative deal with the EU, flooding Europe with Turkish and Muslim migrants remains an Islamist ideological goal for Turkish leader. Erdogan has repeatedly called upon Turkish Muslim migrants in Europe to increase their birth rate and become the “future of Europe.”
The latest migrant incursion into Europe shows how little European politicians have learned from the Migrant Crisis of 2015. While sneering at those who called for securing the European outer borders, they virtue signaled by promising to ‘Build Bridges Not Walls.’ With no wall or fences to secure Europe, the continent is at the mercy of Turkey’s Islamist regime.
[Cover image via YouTube]