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Tsipras on a surprise visit to Turkey

01 November 2015 / 19:11:22  GRReporter
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is going on a visit Turkey in the coming days, to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as with his counterpart Ahmed Davutoglu, writes Ethnos. Davutoglu, regardless of today's election results, is going to be caretaker prime minister for a while.

With his visit to Turkey Tsipras wants to highlight the geostrategic role of Greece and send a message to its European partners about the need to support the country in solving the refugee problem.

The tragic pictures from the shores of the eastern Aegean islands, where "not just dead refugees are being washed ashore, but European culture as we know it," as Tsipras said in parliament, according to the government are a cause for alarm across Europe as well as for immediate solutions to the refugee drama.

"I feel shame for Europe's inability to deal with this human drama," said Tsipras in parliament in response to a question from an MP. The PM added: "It is our primary task to put limits on the humanitarian tragedy and to save many people's lives. The Greek people are poor but they are rich in humanity. We do not want a single euro to live up to our human duty. We are very far from that logic that puts a price on humanity."

It was no accident that the PM once again pointed to the need for solidarity among European countries in sharing the responsibility. As far as Greece is concerned, he argued the country should play "the role of a binding element between the EU and Turkey, rather than just sit and watch the discussion."

The arguments

Greece does not want to experience further uncontrolled entry of refugees through both its land and sea borders. Which is why Tsipras keeps saying that Greece stands for a coherent process of redistribution of migrants from Turkey into EU countries. He also said he would not accept the creation of refugee ghettos on Greek territory.

The Greek side intends to provide its rationale to its European partners sooner rather than later. Tsipras found encouragement in the fact that the Austrian Prime Minister Werner Faymann, with whom he visited Lesbos, at the recent summit defended the need to rally behind the Greek position. Reportedly, he said: "If you had seen this with your own eyes, you would react differently. I saw it...".

Witnesses say the one who Faymann addressed with these words was not Angela Merkel, but his Croatian counterpart who had expressed some extreme views on the subject.

Next Thursday, Martin Schulz, along with Tsipras, will also pay Lesbos a visit by helicopter, and will possibly drop by other islands that take their share of the migrant burden as well. The German Social Democrat and chairman of the European Parliament wanted to get immersed in what is happening on a daily basis across the eastern Greek islands.

Analysts say Tsipras' government has a clear strategy and won't back away from it even if the Europeans oppose the uptake of refugee flows.

According to reliable sources, the prime minister believes that his humane position will soon find other supporters among the European family, especially in countries with progressive governments. In any case, the refugee problem limits the likelihood of Grexit. This is because European policymakers increasingly recognize Greece's leading role in sustaining stability in the region.

Tags: Alexis Tsipras Turkey visit refugee problem
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