Ex-Premier and current leader of the opposition in Greece Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday that the government did the right thing in closing the country’s borders to prevent thousands of additional migrants and refugees crossing over from Turkey.
Speaking with Greece’s MEGA television channel, Tsipras noted that guarding the borders is a matter of course and that the government “was right in closing the border.”
He said that the country is on the verge of a national crisis and expressed his readiness to support the government if the latter changes its priorities.
He strongly criticized the current Conservative government, accusing it of focusing on public relations and communication rather than the real problem of migration.
”It’s a difficult time for our country and we’re in front of a dead-end,” Tsipras noted, asking the government to put pressure on Europe in order for the latter to adopt a much stronger stance against Turkey.
”We need sanctions against Turkey,” Tsipras declared emphatically, accusing Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis of putting on a show in Evros, where he toured the area with the entire leadership of the European Union on Tuesday.
”The PM said that Evros had withstood. Bravo! Well done. What about the islands?” Tsipras asked, adding that there is a clear danger of the number of migrants on Lesvos increasing to thirty or even forty thousand in the coming weeks.
When asked about his own SYRIZA party’s stance, Tsipras said that he is ready to support the government if it begins the process of decongesting the islands.
”I’ll be there, trying to persuade the people about the need to accept (the government’s plan)” Tsipras said, referring to an organized transfer of refugees and migrants from the North Aegean to the rest of the country.
The former Greek premier went on to emphasize the need for Athens to take a tougher stance at the European Union’s negotiating tables. ”We need to figure out who our allies are and ask them for stronger support,” Tsipras stated, adding that if the country realizes that it is on its own, then we will just have to deal with it ”on our own.”