Cyprus Mail

Turkey using migrants and sending them to borders says National Guard chief

The new chief of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Demokritos Zervakis

Migration flows and their impact on security and stability were discussed during an EU Military Committee meeting held on Thursday in Brussels at the level of Chiefs of Defence (CHOD), with Cyprus National Guard Chief, Lieutenant General Demokritos Zervakis, criticising Turkey for using immigrants by directing them to EU borders.

The issue of migration flows was discussed at the request of Greece and Cyprus, according to a defence ministry statement on Saturday.

Zervakis said Turkey, above and beyond its illegal actions in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone, instrumentalises migration flows and sends immigrants to the borders of Europe.

The meeting recorded the need for strengthening the effectiveness of the Irini Operation in adherence with the UN decisions on Libya, while the member states also expressed their support to EU training missions as well as the newly-formed Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC).

The meeting also took stock of developments in the Strategic Compass and registered the need for clear strategic directions for the development of a European culture on issues of defence and security.

Speaking during the meeting, the National Guard Chief said that the Strategic Compass framework should have a clearly defined strategy and priorities for achieving the desired level of aspirations in issues of security and defence.

He highlighted the need for a thorough analysis of threats and challenges to security faced by all EU member states, pointing out the need for defined areas of interest and promoting a coordinated maritime presence in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

With regard to the Irini Operation, in which Cyprus participates with one National Guard officer, Zervakis said the EU’s credibility on issues of crisis management is being put to the test, as the provocative behaviour of states such as Turkey jeopardises security and stability in the region.

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