PortandTerminal.com, March 1, 2020
As chaos on Europe’s southern border with Turkey unfolds, the world is distracted by the coronavirus wildfire burning through its countries. If the two fires ever meet, global chaos will step up to a whole new level.
ANKARA, TURKEY – Migrants trying to reach Europe have clashed violently with Greek riot police as Turkey claimed more than 76,000 people were now heading for the EU as a result of Turkey’s decision to open its side of the border.
Infuriated by the deaths of dozens of its soldiers in northern Syria, Turkey has opened its borders and seaports for refugees who want to cross over into Western Europe.
At least 500 people had arrived by sea on three Greek islands close to the Turkish coast within a few hours on Sunday morning. Seven boatloads reached Lesbos with more than 300 on board, four arrived on Samos with 150 and two on Chios with a combined total of 70-80 people, a police official said.
Turkey says it cannot deal with the number of people fleeing Syria’s seemingly endless war and is opening its borders as a way of signalling to the West that it has had enough. There is already chaos in Greece as thousands of refugees, desperate to reach the EU, try to cross its borders any way that they can.
“Turkish official told us at midnight 01:00 that the border between Turkey and Greece was open and then we were taken to here for free.”Refugee in Turkey speaking to local media
Reuters reported that the Turkish government had ordered border and sea patrols to pull back, and border guards will no longer stop migrants and refugees trying to cross into Bulgaria and Greece.
Turkey is hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees, as well as migrants from other countries such as Afghanistan – but had previously stopped them from leaving for Europe under an aid-linked deal with the EU.
What triggered Turkey’s decision?
Turkey’s turnabout came after an airstrike killed 33 Turkish soldiers in neighbouring northwest Syria where Ankara has deployed forces to help secure its border against a new influx of refugees from the Syrian civil war.
Turkey says Russian-backed forces are responsible for the deaths of its soldiers in Syria.
They also say that funds promised by the EU to help it deal with 3.7 million Syrian refugees already in the country have been slow to arrive. Ankara had threatened several times in the past to open the floodgates if it did not receive more support. And now they just did.
The bottom line
As chaos on Europe’s southern border with Turkey unravels, the world watches, distracted by the coronavirus wildfire burning through countries, seemingly unstoppable.
If the two fires should ever meet – a European migrant crisis and a virus epidemic, the global chaos will step up to a whole new level.
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