Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced February 27 that it would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe, breaking the 2016 deal with the European Union to stop illegal migration into Europe in return for billions of euros.
Following the announcement, the Greece and Turkish border has erupted into chaos, with Greece vowing to not allow the migrants to cross, saying the border is closed.
In a show of solidarity with Greece, the Central European nations of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia have all vowed to support and defend Greece’s borders.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a news conference with Central European leaders said 130,000 migrants had crossed the Greek border from Turkey and that they must be stopped as far south as possible.
Orban also said his government was ready to assist with a new wave of migrants trying to cross the border from Turkey into the EU but warned, “It won’t be enough just to defend the Greek-Turkish border.”
“As a last resort, as in 2015, there are the Hungarians,” he said. “Even if Greece’s attempt is successful, the EU border must be defended…which Hungary will do.”
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the situation was serious and the EU must protect its borders. “We’re ready to help,” he vowed.
Polish Interior Affairs Minister Mariusz Kamiński has also expressed support, declaring they are ready to send 100 border guard soldiers and 100 police officers to support Greece in dealing with the migration crisis.
Officers of the Polish Border Guard have been deployed to support the Slovenian-Croatian border in a joint effort while another group of Polish officers has been sent to the Greek island of Lesvos, where they are going to act as a support asset, registering and verifying migrants who cross the external borders of the EU.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country was ready to deploy guards at the Greek-Turkish border, while his Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini said the growing number of migrants “poses a security threat not just for Greece.”
The four central European countries have been known for their tough stance against migrants and rejected an EU plan to redistribute illegal migrants in member states. The four leaders—Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki, the Czech Republic’s Andrej Babis, Slovakia’s Peter Pellegrini, and Hungary’s Viktor Orban—are also set to meet in Israel on February 18-19 at the Jerusalem Summit and no doubt the upset by Turkey will be a topic for discussion.
The strategic significance of Central Europe hasn’t been lost on U.S. officials either, with the United States announcing a major commitment to reinforce energy security and economic growth in Central Europe.
On February 15, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced during his address before the annual Munich Security Conference it was committing $1 billion to reinforce energy security and economic growth in the region.
Pompeo said, “The West is winning, we are collectively winning, we are doing it together, and as a brand new statement today of our support for sovereignty, prosperity, and energy independence for our European friends, today I want to announce that through the International Development Finance Corporation and with the support or our United States Congress, we intend to provide up to one billion dollars in financing to Central and Eastern European countries of the Three Seas Initiative.”
The Three Seas Initiative focuses on the Central Europe regions among the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. Although the initiative focuses on energy, at its core it is meant to deepen Central Europe’s integration with Western Europe and be a block against increasing Chinese and Russian power grabs.
On April 4, 2019, the United States and Hungary signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in Washington, D.C. The European Deterrence Initiative, known earlier as the European Reassurance Initiative, was first put in place in 2014 in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukrain. As part of the agreement, Hungary has agreed to allow U.S. troops to be stationed in Hungary.
In January, Pompeo assured Greece of its support, saying “We consider Athens a key ally, and a crucial player in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the Balkans. The United States will remain committed to supporting Greece’s prosperity, security, and democracy.”
The U.S. State Department released a statement offering up basic support for Greece’s right to enforce its border security, but the statement does not go far enough says the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), which launched a petition to tell Secretary Pompeo to “Stand with Greece” as the nation faces continuing threats from Turkey that has driven thousands of illegal migrants to Greece’s border.
On Sunday, hundreds of Greek Americans gathered in Astoria neighborhood in New York City on Sunday to show their support to Greece against the latest migrant surge.
Although the EU has has criticized Turkey for breaking the 2016 agreement that required Turkey to keep migrants in the country in return for aid, no one believes the genie can be put back in the bottle.
Videos of migrants attacking guards at the border armed with what appears to be Turkish-supplied teargas and smoke bombs has infuriated many.
According to a report by the Greek Reporter, “The Greek-Turkish border at Kastanies on the Evros river resembled a war zone on Friday morning as Greek security forces were deployed to prevent thousands of migrants storming into the country came under attack by migrants.
“A correspondent at Kastanies says that it was an attack apparently coordinated by drones deployed by the Turkish police to help migrants cross the fence along the border. The reporter adds that during the attack members of the Turkish security forces were seen distributing wire cutters to migrants to cut through the border fence.”
Pro migration groups have been clashing with local Greek communities and riot police at Lesvos, where protests against government plans to create migrant detention camps have heated up.
The open arms that initially greeted those coming ashore in Lesvos are no more. Thousands of island locals attended a protest for Athens to process or remove the refugees. In the small village of Moria, with a population of around 2,000, Greek citizens are dwarfed in size by the camp of the same name up the road.
Local unions said, “We call on all workers, the people of Lesvos, bodies and associations to stand against government plans to turn our island, and other Aegean islands, into a vast prison of human souls.” It has also been reported that the violence at these camps is out of control.
The unrest erupted into violence where protesters set up roadblocks to prevent bulldozers and other machinery from reaching land expropriated by the government for the facilities.
German Chancellor Angel Merkel, arguably the de facto leader for the global open borders push that set off the 2015 migrant crisis, has remained reticent on the clashes, saying last Monday she understood that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expected more help from Europe to deal with the refugee crisis, but added he should not use refugees to express his dissatisfaction.
Merkel told Reuters that the European Union and Turkey should resume talks about their refugee agreement and that Germany was also open to supporting Turkey bilaterally. And there you have it.
Notably, Merkel did not speak of support for protecting the EU borders as clueless pro open borders protestors gathered in Berlin, Germany and other large cities on Saturday calling on the EU to accept “asylum” seekers.
The protesters, organized by the group Sea Bridge, announced that 4,000 people attended the demonstration, with another 5,000 attending demonstrations in Hamburg. Protesters criticized the EU’s migration policy, shouting “Open borders!” “Save lives!” and “We have a place!”
Someone should really tell the German people that time really is up on the invasion by Muslim-dominated countries. European nations have had a belly full of open border policies with even the EU’s top official vowing on March 3 to “hold the line” in support of Greece as the country revealed it had stopped 24,000 people from entering the bloc after Turkey threw open its borders.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “The EU would provide all the support needed to defend the Greek external border, which is also the European border.”
“Those who seek to test Europe’s unity will be disappointed. We will hold the line and our unity will prevail,” the European Commission President said.
In a prepared statement this Sunday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, “The EU must have unity and not show weakness to Turkey,” the chancellor said, while announcing further assistance to Greece at a bilateral level, beyond that which already exists within the EU.”