The Greek government is sending to all directions the message that the refugee issue should be separated from the terrorism threat, in light of Friday’s bloody Islamic State attacks in Paris.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday that “Europe should not turn into a fortress,” saying characteristically, “the terrorists will defeat us only if they manage to terrify us.”
The terrorist attacks in Paris have created a negative climate for Syrian refugees among several European nations, with state leaders considering to shut their borders. The Greek government is concerned that if neighboring countries shut their borders, tens of thousands of refugees will be trapped in Greece.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker criticized European Union member states that try to change the agenda on migration after the terrorist hits. “I can see the difficulties, but I don’t see the need to change our general approach,” Juncker said while in Antalya, Turkey for the G-20 meeting.
Tsipras’ official visit to Turkey
The Greek prime minister will be visiting Turkey on Tuesday to discuss the refugee issue with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. The scheduled talks will be conducted in a different light after the deadly IS attacks in Paris.
Tsipras’ proposal is that the identification and processing of refugees should take place in Turkey so that refugees avoid the perilous sea journey via the Aegean that has left hundreds of asylum seekers dead.
Greece should be extra cautious now in the identification and registration process of refugees, after it was found out that one of the assailants in Paris passed through Leros island on October 3 using a fake passport.