Sunday, December 2

Turkey, transit for so many refugees, is now losing Turks fleeing Erdogan

From The Wall Street Journal, December 1:


Around 14,000 people crossed the Evros frontier from January through September of this year, more than double the number for the whole of last year, according to the Greek police. Around half of them were Turkish citizens, according to estimates from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency. Many are judges, military personnel, civil servants or business people who have fallen under Turkish authorities’ suspicion, had their passports canceled and chosen an illegal route out.

Nearly 4,000 Turks have applied for asylum in Greece so far this year. But most Turkish arrivals don’t register their presence in Greece, planning instead to head deeper into Europe and further from Turkey.

The inflow has added to the strained relationship between Turkey and Greece, already bedeviled by territorial tensions and historical grievances. Turkish authorities and pro-government media have branded the thousands who have crossed the Evros as terrorists and accused Greece of harboring them.

Though the Evros frontier is heavily guarded, it is still an easier way to reach Greece than taking a boat to an Aegean island such as Lesbos. The islands have become dead-ends, where thousands of refugees and other migrants remain stuck in squalid camps as a trickle is allowed onto ships headed for the Greek mainland.


Several thousand Turks, stripped of valid travel documents, are thought to be waiting in Athens for their chance to reach what they hope will be safety and better prospects in Europe’s North.



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