Greek PM says he came to agreement with Erdoğan to limit Afghan refugee influx

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed in a phone call that it is for the benefit of both Turkey and Greece to limit refugee influx from Afghanistan.

Mitsotakis and Erdoğan are seen during a meeting on the sidelines of a UN meeting in this file photo.

Duvar English

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said that he came to an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to limit the refugee influx from Afghanistan, BBC Turkish reported on Aug. 24.

"I talked to President Erdoğan and I believe we have a common interest to ensure that the influx will be limited to as close to Afghanistan as possible," Mitsotakis told visiting Vice President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, according to an e-mailed press release from his office on Aug. 23.

Mitsotakis said that Greece has taken all the precautions against a possible refugee influx and will continue to take further measures.

The Greek PM said that all the measures “respect human rights.”

Meanwhile, Matsola said that Europe will continue to stand by Greece's side, and with the member states that are on the frontline.

“What we are witnessing in Afghanistan is an unfolding tragedy. We need solidarity and we should be able to have a system where people fleeing can also seek protection closer to their home,” Metsola said.

Mitsotakis and Erdoğan discussed Afghanistan on the phone on Aug. 20. During the 30 minute call, the two leaders agreed on the need to support countries in Afghanistan’s neighborhood.

Following the meeting, a statement from Erdoğan's office said that Afghanistan and Iran – a key route for Afghans into Turkey – should be supported or a new migration wave was “inevitable.”

Ankara has been stepping up efforts to secure its Iranian border, the main transit route for Afghans seeking to enter Turkey. Erdoğan announced that the construction of a barrier on the frontier would be accelerated.

Additional Turkish forces are being deployed on the nearly 300-kilometer-long Iranian border.