Milanovic says current migrant crisis different than in 2015

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04.03.2020.

Zagreb, 030320.
Dom Hrvatske vojske.
Svecana primopredaja duznosti nacelnika Glavnog stozera Oruzanih snaga Republike Hrvatske izmedju generala zbora Mirka Sundova i viceadmirala Roberta Hranja. Na fotografiji: Zoran Milanovic.
Foto: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX
Goran Mehkek / CROPIX

President Zoran Milanović reviews troops

The current migrant flow from Turkey to Europe is not the same as in 2015 when Germany said refugees and migrants were welcome, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday, recalling that Ankara then was not as involved in the war in Syria.

Speaking on RTL television, the president said he was confident the situation would calm down and that he saw the latest developments as a consequence of a rushed decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, because of the death of over 30 Turkish troops in conflicts in Idlib, Syria, "reacted impulsively".

"I understand him to a certain extent but Turkey is involved in the conflict there in a way in which it was not involved in 2015."

Milanovic said he was confident there would not be a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis, which he called "unprecedented".

He recalled that migrants were currently heading for the Turkish-Greek border but that they had not entered Greece and said he did not think they would.

He voiced confidence that it will not be necessary to deploy the Croatian army along the Croatian border.

He said that during the 2015 migrant flow, the Croatian police did their job but that the army did the bulk of the logistical part.

The president said that under international humanitarian law, people must not be returned back to where they were in danger, recalling that during the 1990s war Croatia took in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, although "we ourselves had problems."

In this case, "even five years ago, the people coming from Turkey were in no danger at all," he said.

Asked why he chose Slovenia and Austria for his first visits as president and not BiH, Milanovic said BiH had been his first stop when he was prime minister.

"We have the Slovenia-Austria-Croatia trilateral initiative. That's the main framework for action in this region, with states that historically have been very close."

Given that the 12th Croatian army contingent is going to Afghanistan on Friday, the president said, "That's certainly the last one. A few days ago, we saw that the Americans too are leaving." As the armed forces supreme commander, he will visit the Croatian troops in Afghanistan before the end of the mission.

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