In an interview with Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, Greek Prime Minister Kyrakos Mitsotakis spoke about Turkey’s position regarding the influx of refugees into Greece, and consequently into the European Union. 

Specifically, Mitsotakis stated that the Turkish authorities are encouraging refugees who are perfectly safe on Turkish territory to cross the border by land or sea to reach Greece, while at the same time Turkey as a state has already agreed to do its best to reduce smuggling into the Aegean Sea. These incentives hinder the work of the Turkish Coast Guard, as they no longer propel refugees into Turkish waters. 

The Greek Prime Minister has made it clear that the Greek border guard will not allow any of the refugees incited by Turkey to enter. On the other hand, he mentioned that those who manage to enter Greece will be granted asylum if they meet the required conditions. 

His words can be placed in the context of the tensions experienced last March, when Rejep Tayipp Erodgan, Turkey’s head of state, decided to open the borders for the refugees, moving them to the Greek-Turkish borders of Evros. The incentives made by Turkey to the refugees went so far as to say “either you go to Greece or you go to jail”. 

Finally, he mentioned that the continuous influx of refugees should be seen as a European problem and not only a Greek one. The fact that Greece is located at the external borders should not be an excuse for other European countries to ignore the flow of refugees, since every European country should show solidarity on this issue. 

The demand for solidarity is a request of Greece for 2015, the date that marked the beginning of the arrival of Syrian refugees in Europe.

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