Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska on Wednesday expressed the Spanish government’s support of Greece in the face of a humanitarian crisis caused by the presence of thousands of migrants and refugees attempting to cross into Greece from Turkey.
The crisis in Greece has been sparked by a decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release thousands of refugees and migrants from camps in Turkey in order to pressure the European Union and NATO allies to support his government’s position for the creation of a buffer zone in the conflict area inside war-torn Syria adjacent to the Turkish border.
On his arrival to an extraordinary Council meeting of EU member states in Brussels Wednesday, Grande-Marlaska said Spain supported the Greek position rejecting the entry of the migrants and refugees from Turkey and called on the EU to adopt a joint position on the crisis.
During the EU Council meeting, the Spanish Interior Minister reportedly offered Greece a contingent of Spanish Guardia Civil and National Police that form part of the EU’s Frontex border patrol. It is not known how many Spanish agents will participate, but Spain currently has 111 members of the Guardia and National Police forming part of the Frontex “Rapid Response Team” to deal with emergency situations at EU borders with non-EU countries.
Also on Wednesday, Greece said that European courts would support its announced month-long suspension of asylum processing, as it seeks to turn back the flood of migrants and asylum-seekers being sent to the border area by Turkish authorities. Under normal circumstances, Greece is required by international treaties and EU accords on human rights and the treatment of migrants to accept asylum-seekers once they reach Greek territory and to process asylym-requests on a case-by-case basis.
Greece has justified its decision to deny entry and halt processing of migrants and refugees who do cross over into Greek territory from Turkey by citing the recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that validated Spain’s “express deportations” of migrants crossing illegally into Spanish territory at the North African enclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
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