Turkey is capable of taking the flood of refugees into Europe under control, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Sunday on state TV.
It would certainly be more efficient to stop vessels carrying refugees from departing from Turkey instead of sending them back from Greece, Sobotka argued.
He claimed that Turkey had the means to fulfill the obligations it made at a EU-Turkey summit in December 2015 and tackle smuggling and the refugee influx to Europe. At the summit, EU member states vowed to give Ankara 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) and revive negotiations on Turkey’s EU membership. In exchange, Turkey’s authorities promised to counter illegal migration on its territory and prevent refugees from reaching Europe.
“Turkey has the means to take migrant crisis under control,” the Prime Minister said, “It is much easier to prevent ships from departing from Turkey than to send them back from Greece.”
Last week the Czech PM proposed to establish a temporary “emergency border system” between Bulgaria and Macedonia, which is not an EU member, arguing that immigration control in Greece has failed to succeed.
“If there are no results seen from Turkey and Greece by the next European Council meeting, which is due on February, Visegrad countries (V4 — Czech, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary) will propose this alternative to EU. This will put more pressure on Turkey and Greece to do a better job on regulating the influx of migrants,” Sobotka said.
A reserve system would remove the need for Europe to rely on Greece to protect external borders, according to Sobotka.