Turks plan refugee flood: Greece
Europe is hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis. Source: Wikimedia
Turkey has a secret plan to allow 3,000 refugees to sail to Greece every day, Greek intelligence sources claim.
Greek observers claim thousands of dinghies and motorboats are waiting along the Turkish coast as the refugee deal agreed between Germany and the EU looks poised to unravel.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to open his borders if the EU continued to stifle talks on the secular republic’s accession to the bloc. The European Parliament has now voted to shelve membership after the brutal crackdown on dissent following the botched military coup on July 15.
Erdogan said: “If you go any further, these border gates will be opened. Neither me nor my people will be affected by these dry threats. It wouldn’t matter if all of you approved the vote”.
Erdogan rules by decree, under a state of emergency, and has seized more than US$10 billion in assets in the past five months from firms run by people he considers disloyal, making the state one of the Turkey’s largest conglomerates.
According to the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, Turkey could start allowing the refugees to flee “within a matter of weeks”.
Greek intelligence analyst Athanassios Drougas told The Times: “No one is underestimating Mr Erdogan and his unpredictability these days. These plans, along with explicit threats that the Turkish president has made in recent weeks, have Greece’s joint chiefs of staff seriously concerned.
“They are fearful and they have told the political leadership here that if Turkey opens the floodgates yet again, Greece, in its current state of financial and social distress, will not be able to withstand the shock. It will spell war or wreak the havoc of one.
“With Europe in a mess, Mr Erdogan feels he has a free hand in trying to blackmail the bloc using the refugee crisis as leverage.”
Foreign investment is down, the lira has slumped and the its sovereign debt is rated “junk” by two out of the three major agencies.
Ilhami Koc, chairman of the Turkish Capital Markets Association, an industry group, told the Financial Times: “Fundamentally, the promise of this country is still there, but it is clouded in the eyes of investors because of terrorism, and then this coup.”
Investor confidence would return, Koc argued, “if there is a good settlement in that region [Syria and Iraq], then this part of the world could be a centre of investment”.