Nationalist Countries Pledge Help For Greece Amid Border Refugee Crisis
The countries of the right-wing Eastern European “Visegrad group” – Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia – have all promised to help Greece deal with the recent wave of migrants assaulting its borders, with Austria joining the effort as well.
The crisis was instigated near the end of February when Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened his country’s borders to migrants for passage into Europe, in an explicit attempt to pressure the EU into financial concessions.
The Turkish move appears motivated at least partly by frustration after their occupying forces were thrashed in northern Syria by the legitimate Syrian government supported by Russia. In addition, Erdogan has accused the EU of not living up to its obligations from a 2016 treaty that promised Turkey financial aid to deal with millions of refugees from the Syrian war and keep them out of Europe.
Mainstream sources have reported that the Turkish government and military appear to be actively facilitating the movement of tens of thousands of people (Erdogan has claimed as much as 100,000), by providing transportation, instructing migrants, and even attacking Greek border guards.
Greece has denied a claim by Turkey that they are responsible for the death of a migrant.
Despite Erdogan explicitly stating that the invasion was meant as a punishment for Europe, some leftist politicians have chosen to ignore what is happening in order to virtue signal or continue the war against their own populations. In Germany, which took in over a million people during the crisis of 2015-2016, resulting in a wave of crime and social unrest, politicians, artists, and journalists started a hashtag meaning “we have space” to pressure Merkel to throw open the doors once again. Similarly, Finland’s feminist-led government stated that any personnel they deploy would help migrants claim asylum.
In contrast, the Visegrad alliance of conservative-led Eastern European nations has promised to support Greece’s territorial sovereignty and defend Europe from invasion, with Poland and Austria both sending police to assist. The Greek border is currently defended not only by official forces but also reportedly ordinary Greek citizens who have taken it upon themselves to patrol. The EU, which appears to have at least partly learned the lesson of 2015, also sent a small force.
Creatively, Bulgaria, at the request of Greece, opened a dam on the Evros River to cause flooding and make it harder for migrants to cross.
While the Greek government is for now holding its ground at the border with Turkey, it has already lost the confidence of many Greeks due to its previous mismanagement of the situation. In late February, tensions on the islands of Lesbos and Chios boiled over into violence as natives attacked riot police sent over from the mainland, forcing them to retreat. The islanders were protesting the government’s decision to build new migrant camps, a policy they have not reneged on.
The current party in power is the ostensibly center-right New Democracy, which won a landslide in mid-2019 by taking votes from the hard right through promising to defend Greek sovereignty and crack down on illegal migration. Yet again, as has happened many times in Greece and the West as a whole, they appear to have betrayed their voters and instead intend to spread out containment of tens of thousands of migrants throughout the country.
Lesbos, which has a population of around 85,000 natives, currently also houses over 21,000 migrants in overcrowded conditions, with rampant strife between them and the locals. The islanders are now insisting that no migrants should remain. Other locations on the mainland, however, are no more eager for the government to relocate them there.
What this crisis makes clear is that while it may have appeared that things were calming down, none of the underlying political problems in Europe have been solved, and the EU will at best continue to inadequately band-aid situations to try to keep the right out of power. Until Greeks, and all Europeans, are represented by right-wing parties that genuinely put their interests first, they will continue to fall prey to malicious outsiders and traitors within their gates, and the people will continue to lose faith in their system and its corrupt leadership.