As the Syrian refugee crisis continues with a new wave of refugees due to Russian military interference, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria have decided to set up a tripartite mechanism to increase cooperation. According to diplomatic sources, the three countries will hold a trilateral summit to focus on the refugee crisis and discuss the mechanism in March.
The General Director of the Migration Management Directorate will visit Athens on Thursday to discuss common precautions with Greek officials for refugees who try to cross into Europe via the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea. According to U.N. statistics, last year 3,000 illegal migrants lost their lives on the Aegean Sea and recently, Turkey and Greece have launched a joint operation to rescue people putting their lives at risk on the dangerous sea crossing. Last year, the Turkish Coast Guard patrolling the Aegean Sea intercepted 91,611 illegal immigrants, while other units of law enforcement intercepted some 3,600 migrants, pointing to migrants preferring the sea route. As such, strengthening mutual cooperation between Turkey and Greece is becoming increasingly important.
Bulgaria has built a barbed wire fence along its border with Turkey and recently decided to extent it by a further 130 kilometers in an attempt to prevent a growing number of refugees, mainly from Syria, entering the European Union. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has repeatedly urged Bulgaria to implement an open-door policy for migrants, said further restrictions would create problems elsewhere.