With relations with Europe rapidly deteriorating, Turkey is threatening to send upwards of 3,000 refugees per day to Greece in what intelligence officials in Greece described as “blackmail” against the European Union.
According to details uncovered by Greek intelligence officials and published in The Times (of London), thousands of dinghies and motorboats were massing along Turkey’s western coast, waiting for Turkish authorities to loosen the restriction of movement that’s been in place since a deal was struck with the EU last year.
Intelligence officials cited in The Times, from a story that originated in Greece’s Proto Thema, claim that the plans had the support of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who is involved in a heated war of words with the European Union over a European Parliament vote to halt EU accession talks with Turkey.
“No one is underestimating Mr Erdogan and his unpredictability these days,” Athanassios Drougas, an intelligence expert in Athens, told The Times. “These plans, along with explicit threats that the Turkish president has made in recent weeks, have Greece’s joint chiefs of staff seriously concerned.
And Erdogan wasn’t mincing his words, making brash statements that seemed to coincide with what the Greek intelligence officials revealed.
“Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind,” Erdogan told the EU during a speech in Istanbul, blasting European officials by calling them dishonest.
“You never acted honorably, you did not act right,” he told the bloc.