It has become a crucial issue for the Greek state and the economy the tackling of the ever increasing flow of refugees or immigrants from the Muslim states of Asia and North Africa.
The decision of the neighboring countries to the North of Greece to seal their borders has generated enormous humanitarian as well as economic problems for Athens. Unable, or unwilling up to now, to prevent access of an uncontrolled human traffic from Turkey to its eastern Aegean islands has forced Greece to end up with hundreds of thousand of refugees or immigrants who may finally settle on Greek soil permanently. This situation raise a number of questions which remain hitherto unanswered.
1. Who are really refugees?
Those who flee their land for fear of their lives due to civil strife or natural disasters are considered refugees by international law. Upon however reaching destinations where they are no longer in danger it is very questionable whether they are still refugees. The thousands of Muslims reaching the shores of Europe have already escaped from the perils of civil war. They then choose countries where they can have a better life. They are however now economic migrants and not political refugees. Escaping Afghanistan, for example, they would have to cross at least four or five countries to reach Greece. There is no danger any longer upon their lives from the perils of Taliban persecution. How could they retain therefore the refugee status?
2. The Role of NATO
NATO has been entrusted with the responsibility of stopping the flow of thousands of immigrants. Its duties however, at least in public, have not been clearly defined. If its involvement is limited to assisting FRONTEX (european border police) in registering all newcomers, it is an white elephant for Greece. It would only facilitate the process of Greece becoming the 'owner' of all these thousands of Muslim entries. The idea however is to prohibit all those thousands from breaching national borders. NATO is a military alliance defending the territorial integrity of its members. It is not a civil police force entrusted with bereaucratic administrative duties. Its role therefore should be the defense of European borders, discouraging immigrants from attempted entry.
3. Registration in Turkey
Since identified immigrants in the sea are salvaged, with all their documents destroyed thus making it very difficult to identify their nationality and country of origin, why not send Greek passenger ships to Turkish ports and collect them from there? With all their documents intact and reject entry to all those not entitled refugee status. It is obvious that whoever attempts after that to enter illegally by the sea would be 'a non-refugee intruder', eligible for arrest and immediate repatriation. Greece should then patrol its sea border and refuse access to anybody on a smuggler boat. All arrested violators of territorial waters and carriers of illegal immigrants need to be immediately prosecuted.
4. Europe and Repatriation
Many African and Asian countries refuse to accept repatriated immigrants. What guarantees does Brussels offer that all these countries would be forced to honor agreements they have signed and facilitate repatriation of their citizens? What is the position of the European Commissioner for Immigration? It is incomprehensive that there should be active bilateral agreements between EU member states and third world countries whilst they refuse to accept back repatriated citizens of their own. Greece can exercise in cases like these its veto right to nullify arrangements between EU member states and countries of Asia or the Maghreb.
5. Why Establish Hot Spots in Tourist Islands?
Why Greece has not established 'hot spots' (Centers of Refugee Registration) in remote or almost uninhabited islands in the Aegean? In this case the immigrants would be totally isolated from the rest of the mainland and they would easily monitored as far their future movements towards the frontier are concerned.
6. Avoiding a Muslim Inflow is not Racism
It is very wrong to identify stopping the inflow of thousands of refugee/immigrants from Muslim lands as racism. The issue has nothing to do with racial prejudice. It is solely related with cultural tendencies and value choices. Muslims do not easily integrate into the social fabric of another society and they consequently demand value adjustments of the culltute into which they enter. The European policy of multi-culturalism has failed. Newcomers should accept and adhere to the values of the society the enter. And not the opposite. Otherwise we should very soon talk of multi-layered societies leading to confrontation and deep social cleavage. It is neither an anti-liberal measure the effort to protect one's border from random entry. Liberalism is not free pasture for anyone. It is an entirely different concept of an open society with a free market from the abrupt cancellation of any border control. Especially if this free for all passage refers to people who despise human rights, believes in theocracy and refuses popular sovereign (because this allows for changes to moral codes and religious beliefs based on the people's verdict - something vigorously condemned by Salafis and other believers in Islam). Unless, of course, if Europe has decided to commit suicide..
7. Islam and Terrorism
Many insist that Islam is synonymous to terrorism. Although this allegation is extreme the question still remains. A former US Secretary of State concerned: "Although it is impossible to claim that all Muslims are terrorists it is unfortunately a fact that most terrorists are Muslims". The words of a number of Islamist leaders discard many doubts. One of the leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Sheih Abdul Kanter Ibn-Abdul Aziz did not hide his words: "Terrorism consists part of Islam, and whoever refuses this is an Infidel". While the Iraqi Shia clergy Mohamed Alusi expressed the view that terrorism is an indispensable part of Jihad. The North Caucasus Islamic leader Sayid Buriatsky (Alexandr Tikhomirov) refers to the holy texts: "He who has not fought, who has not raised his soul to armed struggle, he has been exterminated due to his hypocricy". According to Samuel Huntington : "The dangerous situations of the future would emerge from the interaction of western arrogance, Islamic intolerance and Sinic assertiveness... The essential problem of the West is not Islamic fundamentalism but Islam itself. A different civilization whose followers are absolutely convinced of its supremacy but angered by the profound inferiority of its power". "Everywhere in the perimeter of Islam", notes Huntington, Muslims are in trouble living in peace with their neighbors".
How can anyone derive therefore that these refugee/immigrants can transform themselves into law abiding citizens of the European countries into which they, by the thousands, flood?
8. Who Demands from Turkey to keep its Frontiers Open?
While Europe demands from Turkey to keep its frontiers with Syria open for humanitarian purposes, enabling therefore some hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee there, isn't it true that it simultaneously prepares their movement - through Greece - to Europe? What is the logic behind such policies? Shouldn' t Greece take a stand and point to the oxymoron?
9. Can Europe 'buy its way out' of the Crisis?
Europe is accustomed to solving her problems by means of the check book. This time however the crisis cannot be faced by means of economic measures. If Europe does not wish to transform herself into Eurabia she should confront the inflow of hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants as a kind of invasion that cannot be bought. This is a political issue and can only be solved by political means.
10. Why Refugees flee only to the West?
Why the thousands of the Muslim refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria and Iraq flee almost exclusively to the West and not to the wealthy Arab states of the South (Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia)? Is this process innocent enough based on chance and free choice or does it conceal something more sinister and dangerous? Could we possibly face here the phenomenon of Al Hijira - invasion of Islam to the West? We should not forget that the refugee inflow only followed the famous allegation by the leader of ISIS Al Baghdadi in Februarty 2015 that they intend "to flood Europe with hundreds of thousands of Immigrants to undermine it from the inside". Could that be a coincidence only?
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.