Greek PM Convenes Security Council Over Migrant Spike



Newly-arrived migrants wait on the beach of Skala Sikamias, Lesvos on Thursday

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis convened on Saturday a meeting of his top security officials as fears grow that the number of migrants crossing from Turkey is getting out of control.

The session of the government council on foreign affairs and defense, usually known by its acronym KYSEA, is the supreme decision-making body on issues of foreign policy and national defense.

Mitsotakis called for an extraordinary session hours after Greek authorities and aid groups said hundreds of people had reached the island of Lesvos in more than a dozen dinghies in a single afternoon.

A boat arrives at Skala Sikamias, Lesvos on Thursday

At least 13 boats with a total of 547 people on board arrived at Skala Sikamias, Lesvos. Of these, 177 are men, 124 women and 246 children.

Of the total, 193 were transferred to the Moria camp and the rest remained at the UNHCR camp in near-by Sykamia.

Thursday’s mass arrival was the largest of its kind since 2016, when the EU-Turkey deal came into effect, medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said on Twitter.

Overcrowding at Moria

The new arrivals at the Moria camp, which has a capacity of only approximately 3,000 people, will bring the number living there up to 10,188.

Most of the migrants there are continuing to live in tents and makeshift structures around the actual camp itself.

In an effort to decongest Moria, the Greek government announced on Friday that 1,002 migrants who belong to high-vulnerability groups will be transferred to the Nea Kavala center in the Kilkis area of northern Greece.

Protest to Turkey

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendas summoned the Turkish Ambassador to Greece, Burak Özügergin, on Friday to protest the huge numbers of migrants who arrived from Turkish shores .

According to Greek media reports, Dendias expressed Greece’s profound dissatisfaction with the recent developments.

The Greek Foreign Minister reminded the Turkish Ambassador of Turkey’s obligation to fulfill the requirements of the so-called EU-Turkey Deal of 2016, which were intended to put an end to illegal immigration from Turkey.