- The number of asylum seekers arriving in one of the Greek islands to enter Europe via Turkey has been on the rise for some time.
- Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had recently traveled to Turkey and Greece to look into the situation, and find a solution to the new wave of asylum seekers.
- "The number of asylum seekers who entered the bloc through Turkey from the beginning of this year to the end of September this year may reach 46,546."
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer called for more cooperation from European countries to better control the EU’s external borders. Without this cooperation, he says, “we may soon see a new wave of asylum seekers entering the European Union, which will be more severe than the 2015 crisis.”
Seehofer told Bild am Sonntag that countries outside the EU’s external borders had been left alone for a long time. The number of asylum seekers arriving in one of the Greek islands to enter Europe via Turkey has been on the rise for some time.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had recently traveled to Turkey and Greece to look into the situation, and find a solution to the new wave of asylum seekers. Maas says that if countries in the EU’s foreign borders are not helped, there is a possibility that a new wave of asylum seekers will soon be arriving across the border, perhaps as large as four years ago.
Seehofer said that with Germany as the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen will make every effort not to repeat the crisis of 2015. He added that he enjoys the full support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Chancellor Merkel’s “open door” policy in 2015, which saw hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers enter the country, was sharply criticized by conservatives and right-wingers in Germany and European countries.
At the same time, in another interview with Die Welt am Sonntag, Seehofer called on EU member states to increase aid to Turkey, which is burdened with the reception of asylum seekers. According to an agreement signed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016, the country was to receive €6 billion in exchange for housing asylum seekers and preventing them from entering Europe.
Asked how much funding to Ankara would be increased, Seehofer said he, as Germany’s Interior Minister, could not decide on his own. During his recent visit to Turkey and Greece, he stressed that the two countries have been under intense pressure for years due to the increase in the number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.
Asylum Seekers to Increase by 23%
“The number of asylum seekers who entered the bloc through Turkey from the beginning of this year to the end of September this year may reach 46,546,” Die Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported, citing an unpublished document from the European Commission.
That’s 23 percent more than the number of asylum seekers who entered the EU in the same period last year. It is estimated that another 25,000 asylum seekers will enter Greece through Turkey by the end of this year.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says 8,103 people entered Turkey from the Aegean Sea in August and crossed into the Greek islands. That’s more than two and a half times the number of asylum seekers who entered the islands in the same month last year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the European Union of failing to meet its obligations under the 2016 agreement at a Justice and Development Party (AKP) conference in Ankara on September 5th. He threatened to force the country to “open the gates” to Europe.
Warning and Threatening Erdogan
“This either happens or otherwise we will have to open the gates,” Erdogan said in a speech in the capital, Ankara. “Either you will provide support, or excuse us, but we are not going to carry this weight alone. We have not been able to get help from the international community, namely the European Union.”
The Turkish president also called for the help of European countries and the international community to create a safe zone in northern Syria where Syrian refugees and refugees can be accommodated.
Turkey has hosted about 3.6 million Syrian refugees and migrants since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, making it one of the world’s leading countries in this regard.
Turkey intends to provide accommodation to about 2 million Syrian refugees and displaced persons by creating 140 villages in a safe area in northern Syria with international assistance. Northern Syria is one of the areas controlled by Syrian Kurdish groups, which Ankara calls terrorist groups.