Greek PM Says Involvement of NATO in Aegean For Monitoring of Refugees Should Be Confined to Turkish Territorial Waters

immigrantsGermany and Turkey agreed the other day to cooperate in order to prevent the flow of Syrian refugees from reaching Europe.

Meeting in Ankara, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also discussed ways to help Syrians amassing near the Turkish border.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have reached the Turkish border, after fleeing a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive raging in Aleppo in the north.

Informed about the situation, Angela Merkel said she is “not just appalled but horrified” at the suffering of tens of thousands of Syrian people caused mainly by Russian bombings in the past few days.

Merkel also held meetings with Turkish president, Recep Tayipp Erdoğan and they agreed to ask NATO to monitor the smuggling of migrants and refugees, when defense ministers of the trans-Atlantic alliance meet in Brussels on Thursday.

In the meantime, the European Commission already expressed its support of the proposal for NATO patrols in the Aegean, but Athens sought clarifications about the idea, with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras having a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today to be briefed on the result of her visit to Turkey, according to Greek government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassilis.

According to Gerovassilis, the Greek government is open to discussing a possible involvement on the part of Greece in NATO patrols for the monitoring of refugees crossing the Aegean from Turkey to Greece under certain conditions.

However, the Greek government spokeswoman stressed that PM Alexis Tsipras made it clear to Chancellor Merkel that any involvement of NATO forces without Greece’s participation should be strictly confined to Turkish territorial waters and not affect Greece’s sovereign rights.