Bulgaria, Greece panic amid Turkey-EU spat

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 29.11.2016 21:07

The recent exchange of ultimatums between Turkey and the European Union over the fragile migrant deal has stirred up panic among Turkey's neighbors, Bulgaria and Greece.

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev recently told Sofia Globe that the Bulgarian government is ready to deploy up to 2,000 troops at its borders at any time necessary.

"The migrant crisis is a problem that directly threatens Bulgarian national security and we will take assignments about border security very seriously," he added.

Greece has also been anxious about the fragile state of the Turkey-EU migrant deal after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently hinted at the possibility of the Turkish border gates being opened to migrants.

"We will open the borders if you push any farther," Erdoğan said, addressing the EU.

According to Greek media outlets, at least 3,000 migrants could reach Greek shores every day in the case of such a scenario.

"You did not keep your word. When 50,000 refugees were at the Kapıkule [Turkey-Bulgaria] border, you cried out. You started to say: ‘What will we do if Turkey opens border gates?' If you go too far, the border gates will be opened," Erdoğan said on Nov. 25.

In September 2015, Syrian and Iraqi migrants had marched toward the Turkish-Bulgarian border, calling on authorities to open the gates.

In consequence, the EU and Turkey signed a refugee deal on March 18, which aimed to discourage irregular migrations through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Prior to the deal, Bulgaria and Greece had to deal with a huge migrant influx. Nowadays, theTurkish-EU migrant deal prevents thousands of migrant from crossing the Aegean Sea with the hopes of reaching EU borders.

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