MOSCOW – Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos accused Turkey on Monday of facilitating the smuggling of migrants from its territory to Europe, in an interview with a German newspaper.
“I have serious concerns that Turkish human traffickers get support from authorities,” Pavlopoulos told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The Greek leader said that port authorities in Turkey did not do enough to prevent migrants from boarding smuggler boats bound for Europe. “In particular, port authorities are pretending to be unaware of this,” he claimed.
The European Union agreed in November to give Turkey 3 billion euros (almost $3.8 billion) in funds to help it bolster border security and accommodate some 2.2 million Syrian refugees. The European Commission has already transferred some 500 million euros, with the rest to be contributed by EU member states.
President Pavlopoulos confirmed that Greece would uphold its part of the deal to provide Turkey with funds – but only after Ankara delivers on its pledge to prevent migrants from crossing into Europe. “Turkey has so far not delivered,” he said.
The Greek president is in Berlin for three-way talks with his German counterpart Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose open-door refugee policy he described as “daring.”