Mitarakis: border trespassers escorted by military vessels are not refugees

Violators of the border, accompanied by Turkish warships on their way to the EU, according to the Greek authorities, are not refugees, said the Minister for Migration Affairs of Greece, Notis Mitarakis.

“The Geneva Convention on Refugees concerns people who flee from danger. This does not apply to persons who are assisted by a neighboring state with warships in illegal border crossing, ”said Greek Minister of Migration Notis Mitarakis.

Early in the morning of April 2 in the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, near the island of Lesvos, Turkish Coast Guard patrol boats attempted to fly 6 inflatable boats with approximately 300 migrants into the waters of Greece. The operation, according to the Greek side, was coordinated from a Turkish Navy ship, which was in the roadstead nearby. Also, Turkish drones were involved, with the help of which the Turkish side looked for gaps in the island’s defense.

The Greek Coast Guard, according to its own statement, prevented illegal boats from entering Greek waters, after which the Turkish Coast Guard eventually picked up the people and brought them back to the Turkish coast.

At the same time, the Turkish side carried out ram attemptwhen the high-speed Turkish boat went to the Greek ship, turning at the last moment, passing a few meters from the side of the Greek boat.

Greece is confident that the action is connected with the planned trip to Turkey on Tuesday by the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the chairman of the Council Charles Michel.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to demonstrate what can happen if the EU does not comply with Turkey’s demands, Greek political observers said.

Relations between the countries deteriorated significantly in 2020, when Turkey announced its plans for exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the territory declared by Greece and Cyprus as their exclusive economic zones.

Since then, the countries have nearly gone to war several times.

Conversation, announced last week, should resolve the situation between the countries.

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