First transfer of 1.5K asylum seekers from Lesvos this week; new govt promises to better guard borders

Sunday, 01 September 2019 15:24
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The Greek government on Sunday announced that up to 1,500 third country nationals - asylum seekers and would-be migrants - will be transported from the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos (Mytilene) in the coming days, as a spike in the number of illegal arrivals from the opposite Turkish coast was reported over the past week.

Another 220 people landed on the island on Sunday morning, with Greek and European authorities considering that official Turkey has again turned a "blind eye" to people smuggling networks operating on its territory, viewed as a form of diplomatic pressure exerted by the Erdogan administration on the EU.

 Meanwhile, amid the resurgent migrant/refugee crisis in the Aegean, the Mitsotakis government also sharply reacted to criticism by now main opposition SYRIZA party and a handful of emergency measures announced by the former on Saturday.

The relevant public order ministry, which succeeded a migration ministry set up by the former leftist government, issued a statement charging that the former leftist government under Alexis Tsipras had essentially turned Greece into a "hotspot" for migrants and migrant smugglers from 2015 and onwards.

The ministry's leadership also deployed the abhorrent conditions, as it said, that characterized many of the illegal migrant/refugee shelters set up under SYRIZA's watch.

Moreover, the press statement referred to an unknown number of third country nationals that entered EU member-state Greece and were still residing in the country, as well as unguarded borders, both on land and sea, "with the result being at risk people turned into prey by criminal gangs."

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