A landmark agreement signed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 to curb irregular migration into the bloc via Greece has collapsed because of Ankara's tactics, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told CNN in an interview late on Friday.
"Right now, let's be honest, the agreement is dead," Mitsotakis said. "And it's dead because Turkey has decided to completely violate the agreement because of what happened in Syria."
Mitsotakis referred to "a conscious attempt by Turkey to use migrants and refugees as geopolitical pawns tio promote its own interests," saying that people crossing into Greece are not from Syria but have been living in Turkey for a long time and are being assisted by Turkish authorities.
"They have systematically assisted, both at land and at sea, people in their effort to cross into Greece," said Mitsotakis. "Europe is not going to be blackmailed over this problem by Turkey."
Mitsotakis called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "to stop being the instigator of fake news," referring to "completely false allegations about what is happening at the borders." "We're not the ones escalating this conflict but we have every right... to protect our sovereign borders. We've succeeded in doing so and we'll continue to succeed doing so in the future."
Questioned about the spread of coronavirus, Mitsotakis said it was important to consider how "fiscal policy can help us alleviate the pressures on growth that will inevitably occur as a result of this outbreak."